New Zealand shares fell in light trading as data showed slower Chinese services sector activity and the kiwi held near recent highs against the Australian dollar and the yen. Kathmandu and Auckland International Airport paced the decline.
The NZX 50 Index fell 3.720 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4765.318. Within the index, 22 stocks fell, 15 gained and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was $38 million, about a third of average daily trading last year, making it hard to read too much into price movements.
Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing chain that counts Australia as its largest market, fell 2.7 percent to $3.31. SkyCity Entertainment, which has operations in Adelaide and Darwin, fell 1.3 percent to $3.75. The kiwi has advanced 4.8 percent against the Australian dollar this year and touched a five-year high late last month. The kiwi is near a six-year high against the yen.
Equity markets were weaker across much of Asia as figures showed the HSBC/Markit services sector Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 50.9 in December, the slowest pace in six months, stoking concern the pace of growth in the world's No. 2 economy may slow.
Auckland International Airport fell 1.9 percent to $3.55. OceanaGold, operator of the Macraes gold field, fell 4.7 percent to $1.81.
MightyRiverPower fell 1.4 percent to $2.10, leading a decline among some energy related stocks. Z Energy dropped 1.4 percent to $3.65, Contact Energy fell 1.4 percent to $5.10 and NZ Oil & Gas fell 1.2 percent to 80 cents. Infratil fell 0.9 percent to $2.28.
Kiwi Income Property Trust fell 1.4 percent to $1.07, Goodman property Trust dropped 1 percent to 97 cents and Precinct properties New Zealand fell 1 percent to 98 cents. DNZ Property Fund was 0.6 percent lower at $1.55.
Outside of the NZX 50, Wellington Drive Technology gained about 13 percent to 27 cents, GeoOp rose 10 percent to $2.20 and SLI Systems fell 5.4 percent to $1.75.