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MARKET CLOSE NZ shares fall; Diligent tumbles, MightyRiverPower, Meridian fall

 New Zealand shares fell as investors punished Diligent Board Member Services for delaying its financial statements again and election-linked regulatory fears continued to weigh on power companies such as MightyRiverPower, Contact Energy and Meridian Energy.

The NZX 50 Index dropped 49.698 points, or 1 percent, to 4734.155. Within the index, 38 stocks fell, four rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $143 million.

Diligent dropped 13 percent to $3.35 after the governance software developer said it won't meet a Dec. 12 deadline to release its first-half results and now expects them to be as late as Feb. 28, when it is due to publish its full-year report. It is also working to restate three years of revenue. The company said it doesn't expect NZX to suspend its share provided it meets the new deadline.

"Clearly they're trying to action this as fast as they possibly can" said Nigel Scott, a director at Craigs Investment Partners. "The revenue for those three years has already been generated."

Fellow tech shooting star Xero fell 5.5 percent to $31.51. Wynyard Group gained 2.7 percent to $1.15.

Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing chain that counts Australia as its biggest market, fell 4.3 percent to $3.35 as the kiwi dollar gained against the Australian dollar, leading a slide among some retailers. Warehouse Group dropped 3.8 percent to $3.55, Michael Hill International fell 0.7 percent to $1.39 and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings fell 0.2 percent to $4.14. Trade Me, the auction website, fell 3.3 percent to $4.14.

Goodman Property Trust fell 2.4 percent to $1, pacing a decline among property investors.

MightyRiverPower fell 3.4 percent to $1.99, sinking further below its $2.50 issue price. Contact fell 1.1 percent to $4.70. Meridian fell 2.6 percent to 92.5 cents, below the first payment of the instalment receipts of $1.

Finance Minister Bill English today lowered his estimate for the total proceeds from asset sales to a mid-point of $4.8 billion from $6.1 billion, based on the assumption it will be able to sell 49 percent of Genesis Energy for between $700 million and $1.1 billion in the first half of next year

The power companies "feel like they've got election pricing in the mix," Scott said, referring to the Labour-Greens threat to regulate pricing if they win power next year.

Chorus, awaiting a government response to its regulated price cuts next year after minor parties withdrew support this week, fell 1 percent to $1.435.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 2 percent to $3.87 after shedding its 5.4 cent interim dividend. Ryman Healthcare, which is ex its 5.6 cent first-half dividend, was unchanged at $7.80 and Mainfreight, which shed its 13 cent interim payment, declined 1.1 percent to $11.55.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, fell 0.1 percent to $9.24 as the kiwi dollar reached a fresh five-year high of 90.54 Australian cents, reducing the value of sales New Zealand companies make across the Tasman. Ebos Group fell 2 percent to $9.18.

The strong cross rate "is one of the reasons there's not as much as we've seen on the buy side and possibly a sell-side bias," Scott said. Australian investors have played a key role in the bounty of New Zealand issuances this year.

(BusinessDesk)