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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as yield plays ease

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as yield plays ease from records

By Paul McBeth

July 1 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell as several energy and infrastructure firms eased from all-time highs in a quiet start to the September quarter.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index decreased 36.57 points, or 0.3 percent, to 10,464.53. Within the index, 32 stocks fell, 10 gained, and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $73.2 million, with just four companies trading on volumes of more than a million shares.

The benchmark index is still up about 19 percent so far this year, outperforming most stock markets across Asia, as investors take on some equity risk to secure cash flows from companies that pay reliable dividends, such as utilities, property firms and infrastructure stocks.

Meridian Energy, New Zealand's biggest listed company, is up 39 percent so far this year, and was among those giving up some of their recent gains. It fell 1.5 percent to $4.68 on a smaller volume than usual of 661,000 shares. Auckland International Airport, the second biggest company on the NZX, is up 35 percent year-to-date and was down 1.4 percent at $9.71 today.

Contact Energy and Genesis Energy have also clocked in year-to-date gains of more than 30 percent. They fell 2.5 percent to $7.80 and $2.6 percent to $3.38 respectively.

Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said a number of yield stocks drifted off recent records as investors locked in some of the year's gain.

"There's been some pretty spectacular performances. When you look over 2019 so far, it's done extremely well and the electricity sector has outperformed quite substantially," he said.

Vista International Group, a high-growth export-focused software developer, has led the benchmark index so far this year, up almost 61 percent. It fell 0.8 percent to $6 today.

Pushpay Holdings led the market lower, down 2.6 percent at $3.74. Just 83,000 shares changed hands, well down on its 90-day average of 527,000.

Spark New Zealand was the most active stock on a volume of 2.2 million shares, almost half its 5.2 million average. It rose 1.3 percent to $4.05.

Oceania Healthcare fell 1 percent to $1.03 on a volume of 1.6 million shares, more than twice its 691,000 average, and Arvida Group increased by 1.5 percent to $1.40 on 1.1 million shares, more than twice its 382,000 average.

Tourism Holdings posted the day's biggest gain, up 2.9 percent at $3.85 on a volume of 80,000 shares, about half its 173,000 average

Outside the benchmark index, Abano Healthcare jumped 19 percent to $4.15 after saying annual earnings will meet guidance and that efforts to consolidate Australia's dental sector have attracted "various" expressions of interest.

Smiths City Group dropped 6.5 percent to 29 cents after reporting a narrow annual loss. The retailer's finance unit and same-store sales growth helped offset soft consumer demand, it said.

Turners Automotive Group decreased 0.4 percent to $2.33 after the auto firm said it will spend A$1 million on a 12 percent stake in Australian car-sharing firm Collaborate Corporation.

Allied Farmers decreased 5.6 percent to 6.7 cents after saying it plans to undertake a 10-to-one share consolidation.

ANZ Bank New Zealand's perpetual subordinated notes, which pay annual interest of 7.2 percent, were the most traded debt stock on a volume of 128,000. They closed at $1.043 per $1 face value, down 25 cents. The Reserve Bank today published submissions on its proposals to require banks to hold more high-quality capital.


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