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MARKET CLOSE NZ shares drop, paced by Warehouse, Hallenstein, Kathmandu

New Zealand shares fell as the market joined a region-wide decline, and was paced by retailers after the Warehouse Group joining Hallenstein Glassons in issuing a profit warning.

The NZX 50 Index fell 39.263 points, or about 0.8 percent to 4911.076. Within the Index 35 stocks fell, seven rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $101.7 million.

Across the Asian markets there was a downturn after Chinese data showed manufacturing was shrinking. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 1.2 percent in afternoon trading, while Hong Kong's Heng Seng Index slipped 1.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index was down about 0.4 percent.

"The negative data out of China flowed on particularly through Australia," said James Smalley, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "We just seem to be following those trends at the moment."

Budget retailer Warehouse Group led decliners after it warned its first half profits could fall as much as 13 percent. New Zealand's largest listed retailer slid 4.5 percent to $3.54, its lowest price this year.

Among other retail stocks to fall, outdoor equipment chain Kathmandu Holdings dropped 4.4 percent to $3.35 and Hallenstein Glasson, which was punished last week after it issued a profit warning, fell 2.9 percent to $3.35.

Smalley said the decline among retailers was on light trading volumes, and that "most people want to give the companies the benefit of the doubt."

Listed property entities declined as the talk of an interest rate hike "sooner rather than later," diminishing the appeal of property stocks that typically return a steady cash dividend, Smalley said.

Goodman Property Trust fell 1 percent to 97 cents. Kiwi Income Property Trust dropped 0.9 percent to $1.10. DNZ Property Fund fell 0.3 percent to $1.53, and Argosy Property was unchanged at 93 cents.

SkyCity Entertainment Group slipped 1.8 percent to $3.82. Auckland International Airport slid 1.2 percent to $3.62. New Zealand's biggest listed company Fletcher Building fell 0.3 percent to $9.13. Telecom was down 0.2 percent to $2.39.

Smalley said some of the heat came out of the tech stocks as investors took the opportunity to take profits.

Xero, whose share price has gained 480 percent in the past 12 months, declined 1.4 percent to $42.59. Security software company Wynyard slipped 7.6 percent to $2.93. NZAX-listed GeoOp, which today announced it was on track to hit sales targets of its task management app, tumbled 11 percent to $2.45.

"It could be the old absolute of investors, buy the rumour, sell the fact," Smalley said.

(BusinessDesk)

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