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MARKET CLOSE: Stocks fall from record; ANZ drops after 1H result, a2 declines

New Zealand's NZX 50 Index fell from a record. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group declined after lifted first-half earnings and a2 Milk Co fell after its manufacturing partner said it would take a month to meet new Chinese regulatory requirements.

The benchmark index fell 23.469 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5209.207. Within the index, 27 stocks fell, 12 rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $137.4 million on a day when many Asian markets were closed for the May Day holiday.

Dual-listed ANZ, the Australian parent of New Zealand's biggest lender, fell 1.6 percent to $36.80, having advanced to a six month high on the NZX and a record on the Australian stock exchange ahead of its result. Cash profit at the Melbourne-based bank rose 11 percent to A$3.52 billion, beating estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Westpac Banking Corp slid 1.8 percent to $37.50 and was down 1 percent to A$34.76 on the ASX in afternoon trading while the National Australia Bank fell 1.9 percent to A$34.62 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped 0.4 percent to A$78.60

"The view of many is that whilst the result was fine the banks have had a very strong run into this reporting season and may be due for a bit of a pause," said Andrew Bascand, who manages about $1 billion in equities for Harbour Asset Management. "Yesterday's close was unbelievable, and we are unwinding some of the excesses of yesterday."

A2 Milk fell 1.2 percent to 80 cents after Synlait Milk, which processes A2 Milk's Platinum infant formula, missed out in the first round of new registrations for China's tougher regulation on infant formula importers. The regulation requires exporters demonstrate close ties with manufacturing. Synlait, which is outside the NZX 50, rose 1.4 percent to $3.73.

Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group led the index lower dropping 3.8 percent to $4.07. Chorus, the telecommunications infrastructure provider, fell 1.7 percent to $1.74 while outdoor goods retailer Kathmandu Holdings slipped 1.9 percent to $3.58.

The biggest companies on the market paced the decline. Fonterra Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, dropped 1 percent to $9.75. Telecom, the nation's largest telecommunications provider, slipped 1.3 percent to $2.735 and Xero, the cloud-based accounting software company, fell 1.5 percent to $31.19.

Among the day's few gainers, Trade Me Group, the online auction website, rose 2.5 percent to $4.05. Auckland International Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, climbed 1.3 percent to $4.02. Diligent Board Member Services, the governance app maker, advanced 1.5 percent to $4.61.

Government-controlled MightyRiverPower rose 0.4 percent to $2.335. Contact Energy advanced 0.2 percent to $5.70 and Meridian Energy fell 0.4 percent to $1.225. Outside the benchmark index, Genesis Energy, the last of the government's energy companies to be partially privatised, dropped 1.3 percent to $1.875.

(BusinessDesk)