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MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 drops to month low; Ryman, F&P Healthcare fall on earnings; Telecom slides

The NZX 50 Index fell to a month low as investors await evidence of earnings growth that would justify a fully priced bourse. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell ahead of reporting tomorrow, while Ryman Healthcare declined after earnings this week met expectations.

The benchmark index fell 26.318 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5108.573. Within the index, 31 stocks fell, nine rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $116 million.

The NZX 50 has advanced 7.9 percent this year, outperforming Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index's 1 percent gain and Japan's Nikkei 225 14 percent decline. Investors have been drawn to New Zealand's economic growth with forecast gross domestic product growth at an annual pace of 3 percent according to Treasury figures.

F&P Healthcare dropped 1.4 percent to $4.16, and has gained 7.8 percent this year. The breathing apparatus manufacturer is due to report its annual earnings tomorrow. Ryman Healthcare, the retirement operator which reported annual earnings on Monday, slid 1.7 percent to $8.30.

"People are deciding that perhaps the New Zealand market has run too far - we've got GDP growth that has accelerated to a point now where it's not going to continue to accelerate," said Paul Harrison, managing director at Salt Funds Management. "Our market has gotten highly valued now, and we really need some strong results from companies."

"Looking at that Ryman result the other day, people are used to them exceeding expectations and they didn't," Harrison said.

Rival retirement village operator Summerset Holdings Group dropped 2.8 percent to $3.46, while

Metlifecare was unchanged at $4.21.

Telecom fell 1.1 percent to $2.66. Auckland International Airport declined 1.6 percent to $3.935.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, advanced 0.6 percent to $32.50.

Diligent Board Member Services, the governance app maker, led the benchmark index lower, dropping3.9 percent to $4.25.

Argosy Property Trust was unchanged at 95.5 cents after it reported annual profit had more than doubled to $85.6 million.

Kiwi Income Property Trust, which posted a 7.8 percent drop in earnings yesterday, was unchanged at 1.16 after Craigs Investment Partners downgraded the stock to 'hold' from 'buy' on forecast stalling earnings.

Goodman Property Trust, the largest listed property investor, fell 0.5 percent to $1.045. Property for Industry slid 0.8 percent to $1.31. Precinct Properties New Zealand declined 0.5 percent to $1.045.

Trade Me Group, the online auction site, was the day's best performer, rising 2.9 percent to $3.61 after dropping to a two-year low yesterday.

Z Energy fell 3.6 percent, or 14 cents, to $3.76, after shedding rights to its 14 cents per share final dividend.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, rose 0.4 percent to $9.04. Air New Zealand, the national carrier, increased 0.2 percent to $2.135.

(BusinessDesk)