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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall on global economic fears

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall on global economic fears; Goodman Fielder leads decliners, Telecom gains

By Jason Krupp

Sept. 6 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks fell, but held up relatively well compared to regional bourses, as eroding German political support for European bailouts and a string of weaker U.S. data kept investors on the sidelines. Goodman Fielder Ltd. fell and Telecom Corp. rose.

The NZX 50 Index fell 22.57 points, or 0.7%, to 3,270.56. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, nine fell, and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $91.8 million. The kiwi dollar fell to 82.87 U.S. cents at 5pm from 83.14 cents at 8am, and was down from 84.03 cents in Northern Hemisphere trading.

Most share markets across Asia Pacific region fell for a third day in afternoon trade, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Index falling 2.1% to 8,599.38, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dropping 1.6% to 4076.5, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 19432.32.

"One again we've had another very good performance from the local market, with local investors preferring not to sell into the negative tone," said Grant Williamson, a director at brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene. "They seem to be focusing on fundamentals rather focusing too much on what's happening offshore."

Goodman Fielder, the Australian food ingredient manufacturer which last month reported a 17% decline in underlying full-year profit, fell 4.7% to 81 cents, leading decliners on the exchange. The stock is rated as 'hold' according to the consensus view of 12 analysts compiled by Reuters.

APN News & Media Ltd., the Australian media company which went ex-dividend yesterday, fell 4.6% to $1.04.

PGG Wrightson Ltd., the rural services company, fell 4.4% to 44 cents. The government yesterday announced it had withdrawn the rural services company’s finance unit from the Crown Deposit Guarantee scheme now that it has been acquired by would-be bank Heartland New Zealand Ltd.

Heartland, whose Crown deposit insurance will now cover the PGG Wrightson Finance, fell 1.8% to 56 cents.

Rakon Ltd., the maker of crystal oscillators used in electronic devices, fell 3.9% to 78 cents, with the stock getting hammered for a fifth day after it said annual operating profit could fall as much as 44% for the year ending March 2012 if the New Zealand dollar remains are current level.

NZX Ltd., the securities market operator increasingly desperate for new listings, fell 1.7% to $2.28.

VoucherMob Ltd., the electronic discount coupon provider, announced it is looking at a back-door listing on the NZAX having entered into a conditional agreement with NZAX-listed Velo Capital Ltd., where Velo will acquire the company for $4.36 million.

Velo will pay $100,000 in cash, and issue 609 million shares at 0.7 cents apiece, giving VoucherMob shareholders 95% ownership of the listed company.

Telecom Corp., the country's biggest phone company led gainers on the exchange, with the stock gaining 1.7% to $2.44 after being heavily sold down in the wake of the Commerce Commission announcement that it would maintain regulatory oversight of its network business even after it structurally splits.

New Zealand Refining Co., which operates the country's only oil refinery, rose 1.5% to $3.40. Restaurant Brands NZ Ltd., the fast food franchise operator, rose 1.3% to $2.30.

(BusinessDesk)

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