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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall for 5th day; Z Energy sold off

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall for 5th day; Z Energy sold off further

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell for a fifth session, with Z Energy coming in for another heavy day of selling after downgrading its earnings outlook yesterday. Blue-chip stocks were generally weaker.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index declined 41.65 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,863.41. Within the index, 28 stocks fell, 17 rose, and five were unchanged. Turnover was $135.7 million, of which Z accounted for $21.1 million.

Z Energy was down 2.6 percent at $5.53, an eight-month low, on a volume of 3.8 million shares, making it the day's most traded stock. Its 90-day average is 643,000 shares. The retail fuel company cut its earnings outlook by $60 million due largely to an unprecedented level of discounting at a time when the Commerce Commission has the sector under close watch.

"It's ironic that everyone looked at government and the Commerce Commission as the main risk factors, but that they weren't as required as people thought," said Grant Davies, an investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Synlait Milk rose 2.9 percent to $9, posting the day's biggest gain, on a volume of 158,000 shares, more than its 96,000 average. Like Z Energy, Synlait Milk was sold off sharply yesterday when its 2020 forecast disappointed analysts who wanted more from the milk processor.

The local market was one of the few to decline across Asia Pacific as European Central Bank stimulus triggered a global rally in equity markets. Davies said the NZX50 is still one of the best-performing markets this year. It's up about 24 percent since the start of 2019.

Blue-chip stocks were among those to decline today, with Mercury NZ down 2.6 percent at $5.16, A2 Milk falling 1.8 percent to $14.03, Port of Tauranga declining 1.5 percent to $6.39 and Mainfreight down 1.3 percent at $39.30.

Contact Energy decreased 0.9 percent to $8.60 after its monthly operating metrics showed lower hydro generation in August, albeit at a higher wholesale generation price. Its mass market and gas sales were higher in the month from a year earlier.

Vista Group International led the market lower, down 3 percent at $3.87 on a volume of 90,000 shares, less than a fifth of its 486,000 average.

Spark New Zealand decreased 0.1 percent to $4.495 on a volume of 3.2 million shares, Auckland International Airport fell 1.1 percent to $9.20 on a volume of 1.9 million shares, and Air New Zealand decreased 0.2 percent to $2.705 with 1.5 million shares changing hands.

Of other companies trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Meridian Energy rose 2 percent to $5.19, SkyCity Entertainment Group was up 0.7 percent at $4.09, Fletcher Building advanced 0.6 percent to $5.13 and Stride Property Group was unchanged at $2.32.

Outside the benchmark index, Comvita rose 3.2 percent to $2.59 after saying it has disestablished two senior positions, while Rubicon increased 0.6 percent to 18.2 cents after appointing ArborGen head Andrew Baum as its new chief executive.


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