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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall from record

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall from record; Z Energy drops on placement

By Paul McBeth

May 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell from a record as investors took advantage of the recent gains. Z Energy dropped on an unusually large volume of trading.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index declined 27.67 points, or 0.3 percent, to 10,058. Within the index, 29 stocks fell, 16 rose, and five were unchanged. Turnover was $279.4 million, of which Z Energy accounted for $203.7 million.

The benchmark index was at a record yesterday and has been one of the more expensive across Asia-Pacific. Port of Tauranga, which is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 43 times, led the decline, falling 3.4 percent to $5.90 on a volume of 125,000 shares.

NZX fell 2.8 percent to $1.04, while Tourism Holdings was down 2.2 percent at $3.93.

"We're giving some of those gains back today," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "Profit-takers have come back into the market."

The benchmark index was reweighted yesterday when Trade Me was suspended pending the finalisation of its $2.56 billion takeover by UK private equity firm Apax Partners. Oceania Healthcare joined the index, and was down 1.8 percent at $1.08 today on a volume of 1.3 million shares.

Williamson said investors were looking to reinvest that money, with low interest rates continuing to support the equity market.

"People are really struggling to find a place to park their money," he said.

Z Energy dropped 2.8 percent to $6.19, with 33.5 million shares changing hands. The transport fuels company yesterday reported a 13 percent decline in annual earnings, but its signal for higher dividend payments had been well-received.

Williamson said a large placement of Z Energy shares overnight drove the increased volume.

Among other companies trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Spark New Zealand fell 0.5 percent to $3.67, Contact Energy increased 0.2 percent to $6.79, Kiwi Property Group decreased 1.6 percent to $1.52, Goodman Property Trust was unchanged at $1.72, and Meridian Energy rose 2 percent to $4.17.

Skellerup Holdings posted the biggest gain on the benchmark index, up 2.3 percent at $2.26 on a volume of 295,000 shares. The rubber goods manufacturer this week announced a $6.5 million acquisition of Nexus Foams, which makes high-performance foams and soft material products.

Outside the benchmark index, Moa Group rose 5.3 percent to 40 cents. The boutique beer maker and hospitality group operator yesterday said it narrowed its second-half loss and was on track to breaking even.

New Zealand King Salmon Investments dropped 6.9 percent to $2.28, extending its decline after Wednesday's downgraded earnings outlook.


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