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MARKET CLOSE: NZX falls on profit-taking; Spark, Trade Me

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on profit-taking; Spark, Trade Me drop

By Suze Metherell

Sept. 11 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell, led by Spark New Zealand and Trade Me Group, as investors looked to crystallise recent gains. Auckland International Airport and Orion Health Group declined.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 22.76 points, 0.4 percent, to 5648.23. Within the index stocks were mixed as 18 fell, 27 rose and five were unchanged. Turnover was $134 million.

Telecommunications provider Spark led the benchmark index lower, falling 3 percent to $3.27 after advancing 18 percent over the past month. TradeMe, the online auction site, declined 1.4 percent to $3.50, and has gained 9 percent over the same period.

"Trade Me had a reasonably buoyant couple of weeks after its result. It got down to $3 but after its result it went up to $3.60 in a matter of 10 days so a bit of profit-taking on TradeMe," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "Spark has performed exceptionally well since the middle of last month and some of the heat is coming out of it as people take some profits."

Auckland Airport, the nation's busiest aviation gateway, fell 2.5 percent to $4.78. Orion, the healthcare management software developer, dropped 2.3 percent to $3.37.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut the official cash rate by a quarter point to 2.75 percent yesterday, as was widely expected. The New Zealand bourse, which carries a 6.7 percent gross dividend yield, has been underpinned by demand for income-paying investment, which has insulated it from offshore volatility, including concerns in recent weeks that China's economic growth is cooling.

Stocks that are held for their dividend yield, such as property trusts and utilities, gained. Precinct Properties New Zealand advanced 1.3 percent to $1.15. Kiwi Property Group rose 1.2 percent to $1.295. DNZ Property Fund increased 0.7 percent to $3.80. Goodman Property Trust gained 0.4 percent to $1.185. MightyRiverPower edged up 0.4 percent to $2.66. Fletcher Building, the construction and building supplies firm, also rose 2 percent to $7.31.

"Does that put a floor in the market? Absolutely," Lister said. "When the alternatives for people looking for income are at the lowest they've been in fifty years. then that 6.7 percent yield for New Zealand shares looks pretty attractive."

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the breathing apparatus manufacturer and exporter, fell 0.7 percent to $7.60. Today it named First NZ Capital chief executive Scott St John as an independent, non-executive director starting on Oct. 1.

Contact Energy declined 2 percent to $5.01. The energy generator and retailer's interim chairman Phil Pryke is to stand down from the board of the company he helped found 20 years ago, to be replaced as chairman by one of Australasia's most respected business leaders, Ralph Norris.

Air New Zealand, the national carrier, was the best performer on the day up 2.6 percent to $2.41.

Diligent Corp, the governance management app, increased 2 percent to $5.20. Pacific Edge, the biotech firm, advanced 2 percent to 52 cents.


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