New Zealand shares fell, led by the biggest companies on the bourse, Contact Energy, Fletcher Building and Telecom, as investors took advantage of the NZX 50 Index's outperformance to lock in gains.
The NZX 50 fell 30.92 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3995.25. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 15 rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $159 million, with large volumes of Telecom, Fletcher and SkyCity Entertainment Group.
Contact, the biggest power company on the NZX 50, fell 2.1 percent to $5.10. Fletcher, the biggest company on the benchmark index, dropped 2 percent to $8.28 and Telecom fell 2 percent to $2.19. SkyCity, the hotel and casino group, fell 0.6 percent to $3.60.
The NZX 50 has gained 23 percent this year, twice as much as benchmark indexes in Australia and the US.
"It appears to be profit taking amongst leading stocks," says Grant Williamson, a director at brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene. "A number of investors will feel as we near the end of 2012 to take a little bit off the table."
Retailer Warehouse Group fell 2.3 percent to $2.95, extending its slide to the lowest since September 28 as investors continued to show their disapproval of its purchase of unprofitable appliance and consumer electronics chain Noel Leeming.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which gets more than 50 percent of sales in US dollars, fell 1.9 percent to $2.53 as the New Zealand dollar rose to a nine-month high.
Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, rose 4.5 percent to $1.40, leading gains among retailers. Jeweller Michael Hill International rose 0.8 percent to $1.23 and Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment retailer, rose 0.5 percent to $1.96.
"There's a bit of pre-Christmas confidence that retailers are doing quite well," Mr Williamson says. Pumpkin Patch, which has soared 103 percent this year, is in favour with its push into online sales, which don't have the overheads of stores, he says.
SmartPay, the eftpos provider, fell 2.9 percent to 17 cents after announcing it would acquire rival Viaduct for $16.3 million in cash and shares, a transaction representing almost a third of SmartPay's value.
Port of Tauranga, the country's biggest export port, rose 0.2 percent to $13.12 after saying it will spend $34 million to acquire Mt Maunganui-based log marshalling and scaling business Quality Marshalling.
The deal will take effect from February next year and immediately add to the port's earnings, the company says in a statement.
Restaurant Brands, the fast food operator, fell 0.4 percent to $2.65. It lifted third-quarter sales 0.5 percent as its Pizza Hut stores' cheap deals came up trumps in a highly competitive market.
Total same store sales increased to $72.2 million in the three months ended December 3, from $71.9 million in the same period a year earlier, the Auckland-based company says in a statement.
Retirement village operators and developers Summerset Group and Metlifecare fell 0.5 percent to $2.22 and 0.3 percent to $3.04, respectively.
As the market closed for trading NZX announced they will join the 50 Index next week, replacing Goodman Fielder and NZ Refining, which both failed to meet liquidity requirements.
Goodman Fielder was unchanged at 85 cents and NZ Refining fell 0.8 percent to $2.60.
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