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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop; TradeMe, A2 Milk fall while Summerset, Intueri gain

By Sophie Boot

Oct. 28 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell, led by Trade Me Group while Summerset Group gained on its positive earnings outlook.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 13.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,928.64. Within the index, 18 shares rose, 17 fell and 16 were unchanged. Turnover was $124.7 million.

"There still seems to be a weight of selling in the marketplace, after the past three or four-odd weeks of experiencing some downside," Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said. "It will be interesting to see next week whether the start of a new month turns things around."

Trade Me Group led the index lower, down 3.4 percent to $4.88, and has dropped almost 17 percent since its record high of $5.86 reached at the beginning of September.

"It has been trending downwards for a while now, it doesn't seem to be the market darling like it once was," Williamson said. "Investors are concerned about where growth is going to come from, whether it's reached saturation point."

A2 Milk Co fell 3 percent to $1.92, Stride Property dropped 2.1 percent to $1.85, and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 2 percent to $29.40.

Scales Corp was the best performer, up 3.7 percent to $3.10, while Metlifecare rose 3.2 percent to $5.79.

Summerset Group gained 2.3 percent to $4.86. The retirement village company says earnings will rise by as much as 46 percent this year as it benefits from strong sales in a nation with an ageing population.

The Wellington-based company anticipates underlying profit of between $53 million and $55 million in calendar 2016, but didn't give guidance on net profit, saying there was too much uncertainty in the fair value of its investment properties.

"It's a record quarter for them and they've got some good earnings guidance, though it's coming well off its highs - it was up at $5 earlier this year," Williamson said. "Other stocks in that sector are higher as well, they've been going through some weakness but have had a bit of a bounce today on that guidance, they're being buoyed by that news."

Outside the benchmark index, Intueri Education Group gained 35.6 percent to 8 cents. It lowered its 2016 earnings guidance, saying deeper cost cuts and the decision to sell its dive school aren't enough to offset weaker enrollments and one-time restructuring costs.

AWF Madison Group rose 3.8 percent to $2.44. The country's largest contract labour company lifted first-half profit 15 percent to $3.9 million, which it said reflected improved productivity that has continued into the second half.

OceanaGold Corp dropped 2.3 percent to $4.24. The gold miner's third-quarter profit soared 345 percent to US$30.7 million as it expanded its operations and didn't have a repeat of the previous year's impact from the shutdown of the Didipio mine for maintenance. Revenue rose 37 percent to US$150 million.

Augusta Capital dropped 2.9 percent to $1.01 while NPT gained 2.9 percent to 7 cents. Augusta, which bought 9.3 percent of listed property investor NPT a month ago, wants to spill NPT's board after being rebuffed with an offer to buy the company's management contract and facilitate a $329 million acquisition.

Pyne Gould Corp was unchanged at 20.5 cents. The investment group, which plans to target 'distressed assets', has been fined $300,000 by the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal for repeated late filings of annual and interim financial information.

(BusinessDesk)

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