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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall on renewed Brexit uncertainty

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall on renewed Brexit uncertainty, dividend payouts

By Gavin Evans

Nov. 16 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell as Brexit worries and a lack of earnings news let investors with a lack of direction. Three top-50 stocks also went ex-dividend today.

The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 16.19 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,809.70. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, five were unchanged and 22 rose. Turnover was modest at $90.1 million.

US stocks rose as investors bet the risks of slower growth are fully priced in after five days of declines. The political fall-out increased in the UK from draft Brexit deal, while mixed signals continued on the prospects of meaningful trade talks between the US and China in Argentina at the end of the month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 Index rose 1.1 percent. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index was recently up 0.3 percent.

Bryon Burke, head of equities at Craigs Investment Partners, said intra-day ranges in the US markets remain high and that is a sign of uncertainty.

While the US has its own issues, the Brexit debate is getting a lot of attention here. It may not have immediate impacts on New Zealand but it does have big implications for Europe and will ultimately affect all markets, he said.

“I’m guessing the Asians don’t think about it that much, but it does affect money flows around the world.”

Spark New Zealand was again the heaviest traded stock today with almost 3.2 million shares changing hands, up slightly on the daily average for the past three months. It rose 0.6 percent to $4.20.

The only other top-50 stocks to better a million shares traded were Fletcher Building and A2 Milk Co.

Fletcher Building rose 0.7 percent from a seven-month low to $5.67. Almost 1.9 million shares changed hands, nearly 60 percent more than average.

A2 Milk rose 0.3 percent to $10.17. Almost 1.6 million shares were traded.

Outdoor clothing and equipment maker Kathmandu was the biggest decliner today after going ex an 11-cent final dividend. The stock fell 7.8 percent to $2.61.

Ryman Healthcare fell 4 percent to $11.42 on light volume.

Market operator NZX was the biggest gainer, up 2 percent at $1.04. The company today said it signed up its first customer for its wealth technologies platform.

Meridian Energy and Pushpay Holdings each rose 1.6 percent to $3.24 and $3.25 respectively.

Pushpay is to be added to the MSCI small cap index at the end of the month. Freightways, which is making room for Pushpay in that index, rose 0.9 percent to $7.09, having plunged 6 percent on Wednesday when the change was announced.

Mainfreight rose for a third day, up 0.2 percent at $31.05, after delivering a better-than-expected 32 percent increase in first-half profit to $55.7 million on Wednesday.

Burke said Mainfreight is now a truly international business and is possibly still cheap on a comparative basis.

Precinct Properties NZ fell 0.4 percent to $1.41 as entitlements ended to its 1.5 cent interim dividend. Property for Industry fell 0.6 percent to $1.70 as entitlements ended to its 1.85 cent interim dividend.

Refining NZ fell 1.3 percent to $2.34. The country’s sole oil refiner said it’s not expecting a material impact from tight natural gas supplies given its ability to use other fuels in its processing.


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