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New Zealand shares fell as some investors freed up funds to buy into Fairfax Media's Trade Me selldown and prepared for index changes that will add rest home operators Summerset and Metlifecare to the NZX 50.
The NZX 50 fell 12.68 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3966.48. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 20 gained and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $104 million.
NZ Refining, one of two companies that will exit the NZX 50 on Dec. 24, fell 2.9 percent to $2.35. Goodman Fielder, the Australian food manufacturer, rose 7.8 percent to 83 cents. They are being replaced by Summerset Group and Metlifecare, which traded unchanged at $2.23 and $3.10 respectively. Index-weighted funds must follow suit by tweaking their own holdings.
"Behind the scenes there's a lot going on," said Rickey Ward, equities manager at Tyndall Investment Management. With Trade Me, there have been "transactions to get cash flow to pay for it."
Trade Me stock is halted for the bookbuild as Australia's Fairfax Media sells down its remaining 51 percent holding. Ward said investors are looking to liquid stocks such as Guinness Peat Group, which is relatively easy to sell during its buyback.
GPG was unchanged today at 59 cents, with 5.2 million shares changing hands. Separately, veteran corporate raider Ron Brierley sold down a further A$2.38 million of his holding in the company.
Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, fell 1.5 percent to $8.14, having climbed 35 percent this year.
Heartland New Zealand rose about 3 percent to 69 cents and has gained 37 percent this year. The Reserve Bank today said it had approved Heartland's application to be a licensed bank, ending a long wait for the lender. The central bank said Heartland has become New Zealand's 22nd registered bank.
Diligent Board Member Services rose 3.6 percent to $4.87, a new record, bringing its gained this year to 144 percent as it expands sales of its software for company directors in the US. Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, rose 0.7 percent to $7.65 and has soared 175 percent this year.
OceanaGold, operator of the Macraes gold field, fell 3.6 percent to $3.50, the biggest decliner on the NZX 50.
Port of Tauranga, the nation's busiest export port, rose 1.6 percent to a record high $13.25. The stock is rated a 'hold' based on the consensus of six recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a price target of $12.32.
Chorus, the network company spun off from Telecom last year, fell 0.4 percent to $2.69. Telecom fell 0.7 percent to $2.16.