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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall in subdued trading

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall in subdued trading as earnings approach

July 29 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell, led by Telecom Corp and general weakness among several other Top 10 stocks.

The NZX 50 Index fell 3.515 points, or 0.77 percent, to 4,578.475. Within the index, 16 stocks rose, 22 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was subdued by the standards of much of this year, at $85.2 million.

"There's not a huge amount of activity. People are looking towards the reporting season," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth management at Craigs Investment Partners. The corporate earnings season for companies balancing at June 30 will start in earnest in early August.

"I would expect there to be a bit of a lull, given where we are in the reporting cycle," said Lister, although a slew of economic data from the US and China this week could affect local equities if there are impacts on the local exchange rate.

The 10 percent hike in the cross-rate with the Australian dollar this year could have earnings impacts for such companies as Fletcher Building, Ebos, Vital Healthcare, Pumpkin Patch, Kathmandu and SkyCity Entertainment Group, which have substantial Australian operations.

Fonterra, Michael Hill International and Hallensteins Glasson, all of which have exposure to Australian export receipts, have issued profit warnings in recent weeks.

This week, the only NZX company of significance to be reporting is Abano Healthcare, which operates on a May 31 balance date.

However, opportunities for earnings guidance will arise at annual meetings this week for Ryman Healthcare, Methven, Mainfreight and Pharmacy Brands, Lister said.

Leading the index down was Telecom, shedding 2.1 percent to close at $2.295, followed by insurer AMP, down 2.3 percent to $5.20, while Xero was off 1.6 percent to $17.60.

On the rebound were units in Fonterra Shareholders Fund, up 1.4 percent to $7.43 after last week’s earnings downgrade. Kathmandu was up 2.7 percent, the largest local listed company gain on the day, closing at $2.70, while strong bank profits reported in Australia saw Westpac Banking Corp rise 5.1 percent to $37.


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