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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as Australian holiday saps

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as Australian holiday saps trading volumes

By Paul McBeth

June 10 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell in subdued trading, with an Australian holiday sapping activity on the local market. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare led the market lower, as a strong kiwi dollar crimped its export earnings.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index decreased 20.21 points, or 0.2 percent, to 10,027.61. Within the index, 13 stocks fell, 25 rose, and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $52.9 million, with just two stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares.

Australian markets were closed for the Queen's Birthday holiday, which weighed on local trading. Turnover was only about a third of the $156 million daily average in May. The NZX50 was one of two benchmark indices in negative territory across Asia-Pacific, with equity markets getting a strong lead from the US on mounting speculation the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates.

"The market is particularly dull with the Australian holiday," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "New Zealand has been a more stable market through the downtrend of the last few weeks, so there's not really much of a rebound to be had."

F&P Healthcare led the market lower, down 2.5 percent at $15.25 on a volume of 377,000 shares. That was almost half its 90-day average of 705,000.

Lister said while F&P would get some benefit from the US not pressing ahead with tariffs on Mexican imports, a strong New Zealand dollar has reduced the value of its exported earnings.

Dairy exporters also declined, with A2 Milk down 1.5 percent at $114.19, while Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units fell 1.3 percent to $3.95.

Kiwi Property Group was the most traded stock on a volume of 1.8 million shares. It was unchanged at $1.56. Meridian Energy was unchanged at $4.38 on a volume of 1.3 million shares. Spark New Zealand was unusually quiet, with a volume of 776,000 shares, compared to its 5.4 million average. It eased 0.3 percent to $3.775.

Investore Property posted the day's biggest gain, up 2.9 percent at $1.80 on a volume of just 62,000 shares, about a third of its usual trading. Vista Group International rose 2 percent to $5.75, NZX increased 1.9 percent to $1.07, and Gentrack Group advanced 1.7 percent to $5.40.

Auckland International Airport decreased 0.8 percent to $8.62, Air New Zealand rose 0.8 percent to $2.57, New Zealand Refining was down 0.5 percent at $2.05, and Z Energy slipped 0.3 percent to $5.97. The public inquiry into the 2017 refinery to Auckland pipeline failure wrapped up last Friday, with Z chief executive Mike Bennetts saying a circuit-breaker may be needed to accelerate investment in additional jet fuel capacity at Auckland airport.

Bank of New Zealand's 2025 subordinated notes were the most traded debt security with a volume of 990,000. The notes pay annual interest of 5.31 percent, which resets in December next year. They closed at a yield of 2.89 percent, down 21 basis points.

(BusinessDesk)

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