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Market close: NZ shares dip in quiet trading, Fletcher gains on outlook

(BusinessDesk) New Zealand shares fell from near a four-year high in trading that may have been reduced by holidays in China and some Australian states.

OceanaGold and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare led the decline. Fletcher Building rose back toward last month's 11-month high.

The NZX 50 Index fell 4.11 points, or 0.1%, to 3830.03. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 17 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $75.5 million.

OceanaGold fell 3% to $3.88 as spot gold slipped from a seven-month high to trade recently at $US1765.29 an ounce from as much as $US1783.1 on Friday. F&P Healthcare fell 2.2% to $2.25 as the kiwi traded near 83 US cents and broke through 80 Australian cents, denting returns for exporters.

"The local market has entered a period of consolidation. There's a bit of a vacuum of news," says Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "The past reporting season was very acceptable and showed companies aren't on stretched fundamentals. Lower interest rates have got to be assisting the market."

Fletcher rose 1.3% to $7.06, or 1 cent below its recent high.

Fletcher has gained "on expectations lower interest rates are going to improve the housing market and also on the Christchurch rebuild", Mr Williamson says. Some investors were "putting on a premium" in Fletcher's stock.

Heartland, which is hoping to join the ranks of profitable banks in New Zealand, climbed 3.1% to 67 cents and was the biggest percentage gainer in the NZX 50 today.

Outside of the top 50, Widespread Portfolios jumped 12.5% to 0.9 cents and Pacific Edge gained 6.7% to 32 cents.

Telecom, the biggest company on the bourse, fell 0.6% to $2.365. Telecom's group general counsel Tristan Gilbertson announced his departure today, becoming the latest executive to leave after the demerger with Chorus.

Tower fell 0.6% to $1.80. The insurer said today it has raised house and contents insurance premiums because of a pickup in reinsurance costs.

Burger Fuel Worldwide was unchanged at $1.07 after saying it had signed a master licence agreement for Kuwait with Al Khayyat Investments. AKI already operates five BurgerFuel stores in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and has another eight sites under construction or scheduled to open next year.

Among other stocks, Air New Zealand gained 2.2% to $1.18 and NZ Oil & Gas gained 1.2% to 84 cents.

Cavalier fell 2% to $1.96.