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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop back as SkyCity, Air NZ weaken

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop back as SkyCity, Air NZ weaken; NZX rises on Nasdaq MOU

By Sophie Boot

Sept. 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares dropped back, led lower by Mercury NZ and SkyCity Entertainment Group, as yesterday's gains weren't repeated.

The S&P/NZX50 Index fell 30 points, or 0.3 percent, to 9,195.57. Within the index, 31 stocks fell, 15 rose and four were unchanged. Turnover was $123.8 million.

The local market didn't repeat yesterday's 2 percent gain, when 38 stocks rose and turnover was $203 million.

David Price, broker at Forsyth Barr, said yesterday was a "day in isolation."

"Volumes were quite good, and it was the only day we'd had up in a week or so. Every other day has been a drift down, and today's no different - on relatively light volume considering the move."

"The results season was okay - there were more downgrades than upgrades for us," Price said. "The market needed more to push on, and I don't think there was the expectation we were going to get it because there's been a lot of costs coming at business through fuel, wages across the board. That's going to be the problem going forward."

Mercury was the worst performer, down 2.7 percent or 9 cents to $3.29. It gave up rights to a 9.1 cent final dividend today.

SkyCity dropped 2.4 percent to $4.07 and Air New Zealand fell 1.7 percent to $3.16.

New Zealand Refining Co, which shed a 3 cent final dividend, dropped 1.6 percent or 4 cents to $2.54. Sky Network Television declined 1.4 percent to $2.08.

Comvita was the best performer, up 2.6 percent to $5.92. Scales Corp rose 2.3 percent to $4.91 and Pushpay Holdings gained 1.9 percent to $3.86.

Market operator NZX gained 0.9 percent to $1.08. It has signed a memorandum of understanding with the operator of the tech-heavy Nasdaq bourse to let top-tier American companies apply for a secondary listing locally.

The deal is the latest effort by NZX to develop closer links with international peers as it seeks to promote local investment products and drive greater liquidity through its own platform.

Outside the benchmark index, Tilt Renewables was unchanged at $2.31. Its independent directors have repeated their advice that shareholders reject a takeover offer from major shareholders Infratil and Mercury NZ. Tilt yesterday announced a 15-year supply deal with Victoria's state government for part of the output from the company's proposed Dundonnell wind farm.

Infratil dipped 0.6 percent to $3.465.

(BusinessDesk)

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