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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down on Trump threats

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down on Trump threats, A2 and Pushpay drop while Kathmandu rises

By Sophie Boot

July 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares dropped in light trading as local corporate news remained scarce, led lower by A2 Milk Co and Pushpay Holdings.

The S&P/NZX50 Index fell 82.98 points, or 0.9 percent, to 8,872.56. Within the index, 26 stocks fell, 15 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $75.3 million.

"We've had an offshore lead with slightly timid markets based on the currency and trade implications of what's going on from the Trump policies," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management. "In pretty thin trading we're off a bit - it's a continuation of the incredibly light market we've seen in the past couple of weeks. We're coming up towards reporting season and fewer companies are providing updates."

On Friday, US President Donald Trump said he was "ready to go" on imposing tariffs on all US$500 billion of Chinese imports. Earlier this month, the US imposed tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese imports, prompting China to levy taxes on the same value of US products.

A2 Milk Co led the index lower, down 2.8 percent to $10.45. Pushpay Holdings dropped 2.7 percent to $3.95, Z Energy fell 2.5 percent to $6.95, and Fletcher Building fell 1.9 percent to $6.86.

Kathmandu Holdings was the best performer, rising 1.9 percent to $3.28. Skellerup Holdings rose 1.5 percent to $2.01, Restaurant Brands New Zealand gained 1.3 percent to $7.60, and Trustpower advanced 0.9 percent to $5.90.

NZX gained 0.9 percent to $1.12. Its proposals to impose stiffer disclosure obligations received a mixed response, finding favour with investor groups whereas listed companies and law firms were more cautious or outright hostile to the added burden.

NZX has previously said it planned to make final decisions in the third quarter of this year, which runs until the end of September. The changes are part of a wider review to improve liquidity and revive interest in the local market with more streamlined equity markets and updated rules and processes.

Warehouse Group was unchanged at $2.03. It will cut between 120 and 140 full-time jobs across its flagship 'red shed' stores in a restructure. The Warehouse division chief executive Pejman Okhovat, who oversees the big-box retail business, said the company needs to "evolve from a traditional, hierarchal structure to one that is fit for the future".

(BusinessDesk)

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