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MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 falls to 11-month low; FPH drops

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall to 11-month low; F&P Healthcare leads decliners, Skellerup rises

By Jason Krupp

Aug. 8 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks fell to their lowest level in 11-months, joining the selloff on regional markets as investors moved to limit their risk exposure in the wake of Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp. led decliners, while Skellerup rose.

The NZX 50 Index fell 91.05 points, or 2.8%, to 3,185.45. Within the index, 45 stocks fell, three rose, and two were unchanged. Turnover was $128.1 million.

Asia Pacific equity markets fell for a second day, with investors spooked ahead of the U.S. market open later this evening local time. This will be the first time investors on Wall Street will have an opportunity to react to the downgrade, with Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures already trading 2.6% lower at 1,167.10.

In afternoon trade, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell 1.9% to 9,121.13, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 4% to 20,100.20, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 2.3% to 4,010.70.

"We're just watching Asia markets which are really being hammered right now," said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "It's is going to be all eyes on the Dow again tonight."

F&P Healthcare, the manufacturer of breathing masks and respirators, fell 7.6% to $2.30. The company is reportedly considering moving some of its clinical trials for new medical products overseas due to regulatory red tape, according to the ONE News website.

The company spends close to $40 million a year developing medical technologies to help treat respiratory illnesses like sleep apnea.

Steel & Tube Holdings, the construction materials supplier, fell 5.9% to $2.25.

Pumpkin Patch Ltd., the children's clothing chain, fell 5.1% to 94 cents to fresh historic low.

Cavalier Corp., the listed carpet maker looking to establish a wool scouring monopoly in New Zealand, fell 4.6% to $3.15.

Infratil Ltd., the specialist investor in infrastructure assets, fell 4.6% to $1.68.

PGG Wrightson Ltd., the financial services company looking to sell its finance unit to Heartland New Zealand Ltd., fell 4.2% to 46 cents.

PGG Wrightson Finance announced today that it was forced to postpone a series of votes on the deal by bondholders, secured depositors, and unsecured depositors as the minimum quorums were not present at the meetings.

Mainfreight Ltd., the transport logistics company which recently expanded into Europe, fell 4.2% to $9.90.

Sky City Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, fell 4% to $3.36.

Bathurst Resources Ltd., the coal miner looking to launch an opencast operation on the West Coast, said today it expects to hear the results of its resource consents hearing by Aug. 26. The company's shares fell 3.2% to $1.22 today.

Wakefield Health Ltd., the hospital operator looking to buy a controlling stake in Norfolk Investments Ltd., announced that it has now acceptances from shareholder representing 54% of the company's shares.

Wakefield, whose $3.80 a share bid was condition on it gaining a 51% holding in the company, fell 2.9% to 15 cents.

Skellerup Holdings, the rubber goods and milking equipment supplier, rose 1.7% to $1.22, leading gainers on the stock exchange, with the stock attracting attention of investors looking for attractive entry points, Easton said.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings rose 0.9% to 57.5 cents, with the whiteware manufacturer and exporter benefitting from the lower New Zealand dollar. The kiwi was last trading at 82.87 U.S. cents, its lowest level in just under a month.

Restaurant Brands NZ Ltd., the fast food franchise operator, rose 0.4% to $2.28.

AMP NZ Office Ltd., the specialist investor in office properties, was unchanged at 81 cents.

APN News & Media Ltd., the Australian media company, was unchanged at $1.30.

(BusinessDesk)

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