New Zealand shares fell after a sell-off on Wall Street and as investors pondered whether the looming earnings season will show results that warrant high stock prices. Telecom and Fletcher Building led the slide.
The NZX 50 Index fell 34.455 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4211.946. The index reached a five-year high of 4252.65 on January 31. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 13 rose and 12 were unchanged.
Telecom fell 2.9 percent to $2.355 and Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the benchmark index, dropped 2.4 percent to $8.97. Contact Energy, the biggest power company on the exchange, fell 1.1 percent to $5.20.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 1.2 percent yesterday.
"The catalyst has been those weak overseas markets," says James Smalley, a client adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "The fact we're coming into reporting season creates a bit of uncertainty whether they will post results that justify those high share prices."
PGG Wrightson, the rural services company that led gainers in the previous session, fell 2.2 percent to 44 cents. Ryman Healthcare declined 1.5 percent to $4.61.
Michael Hill International, the jewellery chain, led some retailers lower, falling 1.6 percent to $1.22. Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment retailer, fell 1.3 percent to $2.27.
Fonterra Shareholders' Fund extended its gains, rising 0.6 percent to $7.22 ahead of the next GlobalDairyTrade auction.
It posted a note on the auction website on Febuary 1 assuring customers that none of the dairy products on offer were "produced during periods in which minute traces of DCD were detected in some dairy products".
AMP, the Australian wealth manager, led gaining stocks, rising 1.5 percent to $A6.60. SkyCity Entertainment Group rose 1.3 percent to $3.97 and auction website Trade Me Group was up 0.5 percent to $4.22
Nuplex Industries rose 0.6 percent to $3.34 and fellow manufacturer Skellerup gained 1.2 percent to $1.67.