MARKET CLOSE NZ shares fall with ASX; Telecom, Fletcher slip

New Zealand shares fell with Australian shares ahead of the federal election and after that nation unexpectedly posted a trade deficit. Telecom and Fletcher Building paced the decline, along with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp.

The NZX 50 Index fell 5.955 points, or 0.1 percent, from a four-month high to 4604.351. Within the index, 26 stocks fell, 16 rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $138 million.

Fletcher, the biggest company on the NZX 50, fell 0.1 percent from a seven-month high to $9.41. The construction and building materials group counts Australia as its second-largest market and had been buoyed this week by better housing market data.

“There are one or two areas where stocks have got a little ahead of themselves. Fletcher’s had a fantastic run,” said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. “Buyers haven’t evaporated completely,” he said, noting that Fletcher fell further in intraday trading.

“We’ve followed Australia to some degree. The market’s just having a bit of a breather,” he said.

Telecom Corp fell 0.7 percent to $2.205 after the government yesterday announced the reserve price for radio spectrum to be auctioned for use on fourth-generation mobile networks. Rival Two Degrees Mobile today said the spectrum was priced at a premium.

Comvita, which markets honey-based health products, rose 4.2 percent to $4.22 after Derma Sciences, the Nasdaq-listed company with exclusive global rights to Comvita’s Medhoney wound care products, took a 7.3 percent stake in the Te Puke-based company, raising about $9 million that will be used to lift honey supplies. It bought the 2.3 million shares at $3.90 apiece.

“It’s a good announcement to see their US partner come in with stock at a reasonable price – not too much of a discount,” Williamson said.

Xero, the cloud-based account comp any, rose about 2 percent to $18.02, helped by its recent news that it had reached 200,000 customers on its way to a target of 1 million. Fellow tech stock Diligent Board Member Services rose 2.9 percent to $5.29.

Trade Me gained 3.2 percent to $4.57 after chief executive Jon Macdonald told BusinessDesk the online auction site still sees itself as a growth company, and that he’s comfortable with analyst estimates of slower earnings growth.

Tenon was unchanged at $1.33 after the wood mouldings company increased its funding line to US$70 million in a larger banking syndicate as it looks to cash in on the recovering US housing market. Majority shareholder Rubicon rose 2.9 percent to 35 cents.

Briscoe Group gained 1.2 percent to $2.46 after the homeware and sporting goods retailer met forecast with first-half profit of $14.9 million, as it recovered lost margin in the second quarter.

Air New Zealand rose 1.1 percent to $1.425 after the national carrier got approval from Australia’s antitrust regulator to lift its stake in trans-Tasman partner Virgin Australia to 26 percent if it chooses. The airline has spent about A$273.6 million building a 23 percent stake in Virgin so far.

Heartland New Zealand fell 1.2 percent to 86 cents after announcing management changes that see head of strategy and treasury Craig Stephen leave at the end of the month. His role has been split with Heartland Bank executive director Michael Jonas taking on a new position as head of strategy and new products, and treasury being folded into a direct report to chief financial officer Simon Owen.

Metlifecare fell 1.2 percent to $3.20 after the retirement village operator and developer said it received consent to build its $40 million Glenfield project. Summerset Group declined 1 percent to $2.96 and Ryman Healthcare decreased 0.7 percent to $6.80.

Opus International Consultants gained 2.3 percent to $1.81, adding to yesterday’s gain when the engineering firm said it would buy engineering and environmental advisers Stewart Weir, to expand its Canadian operations.


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