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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on global jitters

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on global jitters; Fletcher, Sky TV decline

By Suze Metherell

Sept. 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell as investors remained cautious after last week's spike in volatility when equity markets were sold off on fears over the Chinese economy. Fletcher Building, A2 Milk, and Sky Network Television declined.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 20.52 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5569.69. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 23 rose and four were unchanged. Turnover was $146 million.

Traders are still nervous after last week's movements, which included the biggest one-day drop on the NZX 50 in four years, as an uncertain outlook for China's economy spooked investors and weighed on equities. Across the Tasman, the S&P/ASX 300 Index fell 1.2 percent in afternoon trading, which flowed through to dual listed stocks.

Fletcher, the construction and building supplies firm, dropped 2.8 percent to $7.05. Sky TV, the dominant pay television provider, declined 1.3 percent to $4.73. A2 Milk, the milk marketing company, fell 1.5 percent to 68 cents. Xero, the cloud-based accounting firm, declined 1 percent to $13.56. Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator, slipped 1.2 percent to $7.41. Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, fell 1.2 percent to $3.,21.

"The volatility is creating nervousness and that is frightening a few investors on to the sidelines at the moment," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene said. "Investors have got cash on the sidelines and a re probably a bit reluctant to invest yet and see if this volatility increases and whether there's more downside in these markets, which at the moment is anyone's guess."

Kathmandu Holdings declined 2.4 percent to $1.61. The increasingly hostile takeover offer bid for the outdoor clothing chain retailer has seen its board reiterate today that the offer from Briscoe Group is inadequate and urged shareholders to reject it. Briscoe shares fell 1.1 percent to $2.80.

Pacific Edge, the biotech firm, led the benchmark index down 6 percent to a two-year-low of 47 cents.

Air New Zealand was the best performer, climbing 3.1 percent to $2.48. The national carrier will defend a multi-billion dollar class action in the US that it colluded to fix prices on international air freight services after a New York court set a trial date for the claim.

On the New Zealand Alternative Index, Snakk Media jumped 21 percent to 5.8 cents. The mobile advertisement developer lifted first-quarter revenue 15 percent to $2.27 million while slowing its cash burn by clamping down on spending.


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