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MARKET CLOSE NZ shares mixed; Sky TV falls, retailers, Metlifecare gain

New Zealand shares were mixed, with the NZX 50 Index falling though more stocks rose. Sky Network Television led decliners while Kathmandu led a bounce by some consumer companies and the sale of a stake in Metlifecare was concluded.

The NZX 50 slipped 4.123 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4813.880. Within the index, 19 stocks fell, 20 rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover of $693 million included $563 million of Metlifecare.

Sky TV, the nation's dominant pay-TV company, fell 2.9 percent to $5.80. The shares are rated a 'hold' based on the consensus of nine analysts surveyed by Reuters, with a median price target of $6. SkyCity Entertainment Group dropped 1.6 percent to $3.78 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare dropped 1.4 percent to $3.62, extending its slide on Friday when the company posted earnings growth that missed bullish expectations.

Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing chain, rose 2.2 percent to $3.77 and Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the exchange, rose 1.6 percent to $3.74. Warehouse led retailers lower on Friday after it said first-half earnings would be lower as margins at its flagship Red Sheds come under pressure.

"Valued has reappeared," said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "Initially the market may have overreacted to Warehouse that it was still pretty tough out there."

Metlifecare, the retirement village operator, rose 1.4 percent to $4.39 as 159 million shares changed hands. Infratil and the NZ Super Fund, who previously worked together on Z Energy, have both acquired 19.9 percent of Metflifecare last month after agreeing to buy shareholdings from Retirement Villages New Zealand.

Rival Ryman Healthcare fell 0.7 percent to $7.50 and Summerset Group rose 0.6 percent to $3.26.

Infratil, which separately today said it had sold unprofitable Glasgow Prestwick Airport to the Scottish government for 1 British pound, rose 1.4 percent to $4.39. The investment company has ample cash after the successful selldown of Z Energy.

"They had written those airports pretty much down to nothing anyway," Easton said.

Air New Zealand slipped 1.3 percent to $1.58, having managed to claw its way back to $1.60 after last week's selldown by the government.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, fell 0.1 percent to $9.32 and Telecom fell 0.4 percent to $2.29.

MightyRiverPower rose 1.6 percent to $2.18, Contact Energy gained 1.2 percent to $4.91 and Meridian Energy edged up 0.5 percent to $1.005.

Sealegs Corp dropped 8 percent to 18.4 cents after posting a wider first-half loss as lower prices for its amphibious boats crimped margins.

Abano Healthcare fell 1.5 percent to $6.80 ahead of its annual meeting tomorrow.

(BusinessDesk)