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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; Albacore hits NZOG

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; NZOG drops on Albacore, FBU slides

Dec. 14 (BusinessWire) – New Zealand shares fell, with the NZX 50 Index posting its biggest one-day decline in two weeks, as the first of New Zealand Oil & Gas’s four summer test wells came up dry and figures showed retail sales growth stalled.

The NZX 50 fell 29.19, or 0.9%, to 3098.80. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 15 rose and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $67.5 million.

NZ Oil & Gas fell 5.2% to $1.63, leading the index lower. It took up a 40% interest in Albacore, in an offshore basin in Taranaki, which is to be plugged and abandoned. NZOG chief executive David Salisbury had previously said Albacore-1 was in a “very prospective part of the basin.” It was the first of at least four wells planned during NZOG’s summer drilling programme.

“This was one of the high-risk, high value wells,” said Paul Robertshawe, who manages $250 million at Tower Asset Management. “There’s clearly some disappointment. They’ve only got three left,” he said of the summer programme.

The NZX 50’s slide was the biggest since Nov. 27. The decline was broad based. Fletcher Building, which vies with Telecom Corp. as the biggest company on the index, fell 2.3% to $7.60.

The nation’s biggest construction and building products group sank to a three-month low as Real Estate Institute figures today showed that while house prices held at a 10-year high last month, total sales fell, potentially an indicator that the property market isn’t as steamy as Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard fears.

“The RBNZ fears that rising house prices and improved confidence could reinvigorate a debt-fuelled increase in spending which would further exacerbate New Zealand’s external indebtedness,” said Jane Turner, economist at ASB. “The subdued trend in retail spending and credit growth suggests that consumers remain cautious.”

Retail sales growth stalled in October after two months of gains, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Warehouse Group, the department store company with the distinctive Red Sheds, fell 2.4% to $4.05. Briscoe Group, which operates homeware outlets and the Rebel Sports chain, fell 1.7% to $1.16.

Restaurant Brands rose 1.9% to $1.58. The data showed cafes and restaurants had the biggest gain in sales, up 10%, of any industry group.

Allied Farmers rose 5.3% to 20 cents. It has traded at a record low in the run-up to this week’s vote by Hanover Finance investors on whether to accept Allied stock in lieu of their secured investments.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare sank about 3% to $3.24. Sanford Ltd., the fishing company, slipped 2.9% to $4.70. Sky City Entertainment fell 1.5% to $3.27.

“The market is in a pause and consolidate phase,” Tower’s Robertshawe said. “People are hoping the next earnings season is ok. The earnings recovery is still not here yet.”

The NZX 50 has advanced 14% this year. Further gains needed people “with faith to push things that have already climbed.”

Australian foodmaker Goodman Fielder fell 2.5% to $1.93. Air New Zealand fell 3.3% to $1.17.


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