MARKET CLOSE NZ shares slip from highs; Air NZ, Pumpkin Patch, NZOG fall

New Zealand shares fell, nudging the NZX 50 Index down from a record high. Air New Zealand was the biggest decliner while Pumpkin Patch led some retailers lower. Fletcher Building fell as the central bank signaled concern at the overheating housing market.

The NZX 50 dropped 35.76 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4397.20. Within the index, 34 stocks fell, nine rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $126 million.

Air New Zealand fell about 4 percent to $1.4, extending its slide from a two-year high at the start of the month. The kiwi dollar has reached a five-year high against the yen and a post-float high on a trade-weighted basis, dimming the peal of New Zealand as a travel destination.

Pumpkin Patch, the children’s clothing chain, fell 3.3 percent to $1.16. The company fell to a seven-month low last month in the wake of its announcement that while it returned to profit in the first half,

sales fell on tough trading conditions and inventory disruptions.

Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment retailer, dropped 2 percent to $2.41. Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the bourse, fell 0.8 percent to $3.54.

Paymark figures released today show the seasonally adjusted ex-fuel spend total decrease 1 per cent from February to March, the first month-on-month decline since September 2012.

Fletcher, the biggest construction and building products company in New Zealand, fell 1.3 percent to $8.65. Steel & Tube Holdings, which sells steel building products, fell 1.1 percent to $2.67.

Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer said the central bank would raise interest rates if there were signs that an overheated housing market in Auckland and Christchurch was spilling over into broader inflation pressures and consumer spending.

“If the house price and credit expansion begin to fuel excessive consumption spending and inflationary pressures, a monetary policy response would become more likely,” Spencer said in a speech to the Employers and Manufacturers Association in Auckland.

NZ Oil & Gas declined 2.9 percent to 84 cents as environmental protestors against oil, gas and gold mining broke out in a challenge to the government’s efforts to open up the nation’s mineral wealth.

Chorus, the phone network company, fell 2.5 percent to $2.69. Port of Tauranga dropped 2.1 percent to $14.10 and Freightways fell 2.2 percent to $4.43.

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