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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares falls after Telecom, Sky TV earnings

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares falls after Telecom, Sky TV earnings; Fletcher drops

Aug. 23 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares fell after Telecom and Sky Network Television posted earnings and some investors sold Fletcher Building at a three-month high.

The NZX 50 Index fell 5.653 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4524.209. Within the index, 18 stocks fell, 20 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $152 million.

Telecom fell 0.7 percent to $2.235 after posting a 0.5 percent decline in full-year adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $1.04 billion. Telecom gave guidance of $1.04 billion to $1.06 billion in May, saying it was facing intense rivalry on fixed-line services and a margin squeeze in the Gen-i corporate services segment.

Fletcher Building, which this week posted earnings that beat estimates as a pickup in New Zealand offset flat results from Australia, dropped 1 percent to $8.60, having climbed above $8.70 to a three month high.

“Telecom probably was a touch disappointing. It was just a touch short of a number of analysts’ expectations,” said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. “We have seen a little bit of profit taking in Fletcher Building - they had quite a good rally following their result. Our two largest companies are just putting a little bit of downside weight on the overall index today.

Sky Network Television dropped 1.5 percent to $5.33 after reporting a 10.9 percent rise in annual profit as its subscriber base rose to a record in the face of competition from new content providers. The pay-TV operator reported net profit after tax of $137.2 million in the year to June 30, up from $123.7 million in the previous year, and exceeding the First NZ Capital forecast of $133.2 million.

Skellerup Holdings climbed 4.3 percent to a four-month high of $1.47 after the company yesterday beat its 2013 profit guidance and signalled higher earnings in the coming year, prompting brokerage Craigs Investment Partners to upgrade its rating to ‘buy’.

New Zealand Refining rose 2.2 percent to $2.30 after the nation’s only refinery turned to a first-half profit as its margins recovered while warning the improvement may not be sustained in the face of excess global capacity.

“There is quite a bit of pressure on margins due to overcapacity in the Asia Pacific region, but the share price overall is relatively depressed on a historical basis, quite near its lows,” Williamson said.

Air New Zealand led decliners, falling 2.4 percent to $1.41 after the government-controlled national carrier announced plans to cut 180 staff at a pared back Auckland engineering site. The airline said its new fleet doesn’t require the same level of maintenance, and that the workshop isn’t attracting the same level of demand from external customers.

Metlifecare gained 1.6 percent to $3.27 after the retirement village operator and developer turned profitable in the 2013 financial year, with annual earnings of $120.3 million as it reaped the benefits of beefed up operations having merged with Vision Senior Living and Private Life Care Holdings.

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund fell 0.4 percent to $6.88 after Fonterra Cooperative Group suspended consumer operations in Sri Lanka after its local offices were faced with nationalist protests. The dairy exporter faces a temporary ban on its products in Sri Lanka.

Port of Tauranga fell 0.1 percent to $14.34, adding to yesterday’s 2.4 percent decline when it posted another record annual profit, though handled fewer containers in the second half of the year. Analysts are finding it difficult to justify the stock’s premium, despite it being regarded as a well-managed business with growth prospects.

Rakon gained 4.4 percent to 24 cents a day after the navigation components maker put out a notice of special meeting to get shareholder approval to sell down its stake in a Chinese factory. If the deal doesn’t go ahead Rakon will have to liquidate the plant.

Z Energy fell 0.3 percent to $3.77, its first decline since listing on Monday, though still above the top of its indicative price range in the offer document. Australian fund manager Cooper Investors emerged as a substantial shareholder in the petrol station chain today, building up a 5.1 percent stake.

“It has had a very good week and there’s been good two-way trading on the stock since it listed as well, so a very successful listing for that company this week,” Williamson said.


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