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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks follow Wall Street lower

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks follow Wall Street lower; Spark, Port of Tauranga gain

By Gavin Evans

Nov. 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell after a sharp drop on Wall Street overnight spooked investors throughout Asia’s markets.

The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 95.33 points, or 1.1 percent, to 8,861.52. Within the index, 29 stocks fell, 10 were unchanged and 11 rose. Turnover was modest at $100.5 million.

US stocks fell for a second day amid signs of slowing tech growth and a sharp fall for Goldman Sachs after Malaysia said it would seek full refunds from any fraudulent bond deals the bank conducted in relation to the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.3 percent, while the S&P 500 Index fell by almost 2 percent.

Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson said the local market had performed quite well today, particularly given the weaker performance in Australia. The S&P/ASX 200 index was recently down 1.7 percent at 5840.70.

Among the bigger local decliners were A2 Milk Co, down 2.3 percent at $10.30, and Ryman Healthcare, down 4.4 percent at $11.85. Westpac Banking Corp, down 5.5 percent at $28.08, led the declines.

“A lot of that is being led out of the Australian market,” Williamson said. “Both A2 and Ryman are widely held by Australian investors” and they have suffered with the weaker sentiment in that market, he said.

Spark New Zealand was the heaviest traded stock today with almost 5.4 million changing hands – twice the daily average the past three months. It was up 0.5 percent at $4.11, a new closing high.

Williamson said it was a good outperformance, relative to the rest of the market, for one of the country’s leading stocks.

The company last week announced it will move into its own sports content production and said it has the capability to go after all sport in New Zealand for its streaming service.

Other stocks to have more than a million shares traded today were Meridian Energy, down 1.8 percent at $3.22, Contact Energy, down 1.2 percent at $5.80, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, down 2.5 percent at $13.70, and Precinct Properties, unchanged at $1.43.

Port of Tauranga rose 0.4 percent to $5.12. The company told investors today it is budgeting on another year of strong container and bulk cargo growth and has started planning for expansion of its container berth and optimisation of its container terminal.

Chemist and animal healthcare business Ebos Group rose 1.1 percent to $20.94 on light volume. Almost 20,700 shares changed hands, less than a third of the daily average the past three months.

Infratil, which today reported a 19 percent increase in half-year operating earnings and raised its full-year forecast, fell 1.3 percent to $3.485.

Williamson said there is a lot of positive news across the company’s investment portfolio, although imputation credits on the firm’s dividends have fallen as the group’s offshore earnings have increased.

Among the smaller players, brewer Moa Group rose 2.4 percent to 42 cents after signalling strong sales growth will get it close to breaking even in the six months through March.

(BusinessDesk)

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