MARKET CLOSE NZ shares fall in absence of Australian traders; Fletcher falls

New Zealand shares fell, with trading muted as some Australian states celebrated Labour Day and with no sign politicians in Washington can break their budget standoff. Fletcher Building paced the decline and Sky Network Television gained.

The NZX 50 Index fell 3.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4756.044. Within the index, 19 stocks fell, 19 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $78 million.

New South Wales, ACT, Queensland and South Australia had a public holiday today for Labour Day, reducing trading activity on the ASX and on the NZX, which is typically watched by Australian institutional investors. Trading on the ASX was open but with no CHESS settlement.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 2.4 percent to $34.25 on the NZX, leading declines among Australian companies. AMP fell 1.9 percent to $5.10 and Westpac Banking Corp fell 1.3 percent to $36.39.

Fletcher Building declined about 1 percent to $9.37and MightyRiverPower fell 0.9 percent to $2.24.

“There’s a bit of a vacuum” with the Labour Day holiday. The institutional side of the market is driven out of Australia,” said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. “There’s an even bigger vacuum on the other side of the Pacific,” he said, referring to the shutdown in Washington.

SmartPay, the eftpos equipment company, soared 23 percent to 38 cents, which was probably on the back of Milford Asset Management disclosing last week it had become a substantial security holder, with 6.3 percent of the stock, Easton said.

There is scope for the New Zealand market to rebound, as it is “definitely still in vogue,” with companies such as Auckland International Airport and Sky TV “defying gravity,” he said. Auckland Airport rose 0.8 percent to $3.325 and Sky TV was up 0.3 percent to $6.20. The stocks are up 24 percent and 26 percent respectively this year.

Infratil rose 0.4 percent to $2.51 after First NZ Capital analyst Rob Bode resumed coverage of the company with an ‘outperform’ rating and said the stock was undervalued, especially given the success of the Z Energy investment. Z fell 0.3 percent to $3.98 today, having been sold down by Infratil and the NZ Super Fund in August for $3.50 a share.

Port of Tauranga was unchanged at $13.90. New Zealand’s largest export port may increase its dividend payout ratio and make additional capital payments to investors as cash flows return to normal levels after a period of higher spending, brokerage Craigs Investment Partners said in a report.

Telecom fell 0.2 percent to $2.30 after setting a Nov. 12 date for the start of its 4G mobile service.


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