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MARKET CLOSE:NZ shares fall as kiwi $ climbs

MARKET CLOSE:NZ shares fall as kiwi $ climbs

By Suze Metherell

Oct. 8 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell as investors sold dual-listed stocks after the kiwi dollar climbed against its Australian counterpart. Kathmandu Holdings, Fletcher Building and Sky City Entertainment Group.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 24.24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5625.79. Within the index, 30 stocks fell, 17 rose and three were unchanged. Turnover was strong at $212 million.

Over the past week the kiwi has gained a cent to recently trade at a four-month high of 91.88 Australian cents. A bounce back in dairy products has underpinned strength in the local dollar.

Investors sold dual-listed stocks to book gains in the local currencies, and on concern the stronger dollar might crimp offshore sales. Kathmandu, the trans-Tasman outdoor goods retailer, dropped 2 percent to $1.48. Fletcher, the construction supplies firm with operations in Australia, declined 1.9 percent to $7.07. SkyCity, the casino operator, fell 1 percent to $3.96. Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator with a Melbourne village, fell 1.3 percent to $7.05.

"Our dollar's had a good little run over the last week and it's quite a bit stronger against the Australian dollar as well," said Bryon Burke, head of equities at Craigs Investment Partners. "That just makes them more expensive, and obviously those stocks have a high proportion of Australian investors in them so I think with a lot of Australian investors on the register they're already up. The markets have been doing well so there is potential profit-taking coming overnight, and that's why we're seeing a pull back this afternoon."

A2 Milk Company, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, last traded at 72 cents before being put into a trading halt before market open this morning. The company plans to raise $43 million through a share placement and share purchase plan, just months after it shelved an equity raising when its biggest shareholder expressed interest in making a full takeover.

Metro Performance Glass, New Zealand's largest glass manufacturer, was the best performer on the benchmark index, up 3.8 percent to $1.36. Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, rose 3.3 percent to $16.50. Air New Zealand, the national carrier, gained 2.1 percent to $2.635. Sky Network Television, the country's dominant pay tv provider, rose 0.2 percent to $4.87.

Outside the benchmark index, Scott Technology, the industrial automation manufacturer, rose 1.5 percent to $1.40 after it more than doubled annual profit to $6.1 million as revenue was boosted by a weaker kiwi dollar and gains from its RobotWorx acquisition.

Michael Hill International, the listed jewellery retailer, rose 1 percent to $1.05 after it said first-quarter sales rose 9.9 percent to A$112.5 million, driven by a combination of new store openings and increased revenue from existing stores. The stock jumped 7.2 percent yesterday to $1.04 before the quarterly sales update.

NZX Regulation has suspended Pyne Gould Corp shares from trading for the second time in as many years after the diversified investor failed to lodge its annual report with the stock exchange. The stock last traded at 24.5 cents, valuing the company at $48 million, and has declined some 36 percent over the past 12 months.


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