Market close: Shares fall as Fletcher, SkyCity shed dividend, Wrightson drops
BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand shares fell, pushing the NZX 50 Index from a 4½-year high as Fletcher Building and SkyCity Entertainment Group shed their dividends. Rural services company PGG Wrightson fell after dairy giant Fonterra posted a drop in annual sales.
The NZX 50 Index fell 15.99 points, or 0.4%, to 3809.32. Within the index, 30 shares fell, nine rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $118 million.
Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest construction company, fell about 3% to $6.85 after shedding its 17 cents a share final dividend. SkyCity Entertainment, the casino and hotel operator, dropped 3.6% to $3.78 after going ex its 8 cent final dividend.
Michael Hill International, New Zealand's only listed jewellery maker, fell 0.8% to $1.18. It will pay a final dividend of 3.5 cents.
The decline was led by Wrightson, New Zealand's largest agricultural company, down 5.4% to 35 cents. Fonterra, the world's largest exporter of dairy products, missed its forecast with a 19% drop in its 2012 payout to farmers, reflecting lower prices for milk and a stronger kiwi dollar, and in spite of record production.
"I don't think there is a great surprise with Fonterra. The share price may have reacted to that but there are a lot of conflicting factors with PGG," says Matthew Goodson, portfolio manager at BT Funds Management.
Nuplex Industries fell 3.7% to $2.85. The company announced earlier this week it would close four plants in Australia and New Zealand in the next two years as the trading outlook dims, eliminating jobs in a restructuring effort that will slice $17 million from forecast 2013 profit.
Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the clothing chain, fell 0.2% to $4.60. The Auckland-based company posted a 15% rise in full-year earnings to $21 million, beating estimates as the retailer increased market share. Sales increased 4.9% to $215.6 million. The stock has gained about 34% this year.
"We have seen clothing retailers, particularly in Australia, experience something of a pick-up," Mr Goodson says. "That has had some impact on Hallenstein's because they are in that market."
Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing retailer, was unchanged at $1.18 ahead of its full-year results tomorrow.
"They have given reasonable pre-guidance so one would expect they could beat that slightly," Goodson says. "The thing is to look for is stability in their retail operations and growth online."
Trade Me, the online auction site controlled by Fairfax Media, rose 0.5% to $3.98 on a day when a rival online auction site start-up was announced.
Telecom, the largest company on the exchange, climbed 0.2% to $2.395.
New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 0.6% to 83 cents after the company confirmed it will drill the inshore Taranaki oil and gas prospect, Kakapo, but is still looking for at least one more farm-in partner and a suitable drilling rig.
Wellington Drive Technologies, which makes energy-efficient motors, soared 21% to 17 cents after the Auckland-based company says it signed a licensing agreement with an American company worth $US100,000 to $US400,000 a year.