New Zealand shares fell yesterday, snapping a three-day rally as further delays to fiscal cliff talks in the US weighed on equity markets across Asia. Goodman Fielder and NZ Refining dropped as they exited the NZX 50 Index.
The NZX 50 fell 20.71 points, or 0.5%, to 4054.74. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 20 rose and six were unchanged. Turnover was $165 million.
Goodman Fielder, the Australian food manufacturer, dropped 3.8% to 76 cents and NZ refining, the nation's only oil refinery, declined 2.8% to $2.43. The two companies are leaving the benchmark index after the latest quarterly re-weightings, effective at the market open on Monday.
They will be replaced by retirement village operators Summerset Group, which fell 0.5% to $2.22, and Metlifecare, up about 2% to $3.13.
"A lot of people are out of the market ahead of Christmas," says Rickey Ward, equities manager at Tyndall Investment Management. "The index changes are the main event today."
Shares were generally weaker across the Asia Pacific region and US index futures fell after House Republican leaders cancelled a vote that allow higher taxes, a concession to the White House in the fiscal cliff talks.
Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, fell 2.4% to $8.25 and Telecom dropped 2.6%t to $2.26. Port of Tauranga, the busiest export port, fell 1.8% to $13.25.
Diligent Board Member Services was the biggest gainer, rising 3% to $5.46 extending its 160% gain this year to a new record.
Chorus, the network company spun off from Telecom last year, rose 2.8% to $2.92, clawing back some ground after slumping this month on the threat of price controls.
Allied Farmers rose 16% to 2.9 cents. Crown Asset Management, the entity set up to handle assets from failed finance companies backed by the government's deposit guarantee, will take up what's left of the decimated Hanover and United Finance property assets from Allied, the company said yesterday.
Abano Healthcare rose 4.1% to $6.30. The specialist healthcare investor and operator met its guidance with a jump in first-half profit as it acquired more dental practices in Australia and New Zealand.
Net profit was $1.5 million in the six months ended Nov. 30, from $600,000 a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Sales rose to $107.9 million from $102 million.