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MARKET CLOSE: Shares fall with ASX; Kathmandu, SkyCity drop; TradeMe sinks on downgrade

New Zealand shares fell, paced by companies with exposure to a weaker Australian economy such as SkyCity Entertainment Group, Kathmandu Holdings and Michael Hill International. Trade Me Group slid after an analyst downgraded the stock.

The NZX 50 Index fell 18.409 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5167.780. Within the index, 24 shares fell, 15 rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $121 million.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.1 percent in afternoon trading, as investors continued to digest the first Federal Budget from the Liberal-led government, which outlined major cuts in spending to rein in a deficit of A$49.9 billion, while projecting slower economic growth.

Kathmandu, the outdoor goods retailer that counts Australia as its biggest market, dropped 1.8 percent to $3.90. Brisbane-based jeweller Michael Hill slipped 0.8 percent to $1.29. SkyCity, which operates the Adelaide and Darwin casinos, declined 2.7 percent to $4.00.

The dual-listed Australian banks fell, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group declined 0.7 percent to $35.40 and Westpac Banking Corp fell 1.3 percent to $36.50.

"Australia is still reacting to their budget. That's certainly not helping their market and also weaker resource prices as well are knocking a number of their stocks around," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene "If they're not performing well then it is going to have some effect on our markets."

Trade Me fell 1.9 percent to $3.65 with over $44 million of the stock changing hands after an analyst downgraded the auction website operator to "sell", Williamson said. It is rated an average of "hold" according to 10 analysts surveyed by Reuters, with a median price target of $4.28.

Fletcher Building declined 0.3 percent to a three-month low of $9.10, extending its slide since the government said it will remove duties on imported building supplies and anti-dumping levies in a bid to bring down construction costs.

Precinct Properties New Zealand declined 1.4 percent, or 1.5 cents, to $1.055 as it shed rights to its interim dividend of 10.8 cents.

Goodman Property Trust fell 0.5 percent to $1.04 after its manager, Goodman (NZ), had its credit rating of BBB reaffirmed by Standard & Poor's. The trust's $295 million and $600 million senior secured bank debt was upgraded one notch to BBB+.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 0.2 percent to $4.30. The breathing apparatus manufacturer is due to report its full-year earnings this week and the market has "high expectations", Williamson said.

Argosy Property fell 1.1 to 94.5 cents. The property trust reports its full-year financials tomorrow, but Williamson didn't expect the results to move the stock significantly.

Telecom was unchanged at $2.73. Xero, the cloud-based accounting software company, advanced 0.6 percent to $32.40.

Ryman Healthcare gained 0.6 percent to $8.70. Summerset Group Holdings lifted 0.6 percent to $3.57. Metlifecare slipped 0.2 percent to $4.24.

OceanaGold Corp was the worst performer on the day, dropping 6 percent to $2.84.

Outside the benchmark index, Wellington Drive Technologies was unchanged at 14 cents after it said it had raised $2.2 million from shareholders in a convertible notes issue with a $5 million target. Shareholders would vote next month whether cornerstone shareholder and underwriter SuperLife could mop up the remaining $2.8 million.

Dual-listed Goodman Fielder was unchanged at 74 cents, and had gained 3.3 percent to 68.7 Australian cents on the ASX. The board of the Australian food maker has backed an A$1.37 million takeover offer from two Asian food manufacturers.

(BusinessDesk)