BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand shares were mixed. Warehouse Group was among declining retailers while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare led rising stocks.
The NZX 50 Index fell 0.29 points, or 0.01%, to 3809.02. Within the index, 20 shares fell, 19 rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was about $88 million.
Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the NZX 50, shed 3.3% to $2.92. Michael Hill International, New Zealand's only listed jewellery maker, fell 1.7% to $1.16.
Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, were unchanged on $1.18 after posting a 20% decline in full-year earnings to $10.1 million, meeting its forecast, as "challenging retail conditions" in all markets squeezed margins.
Postie Plus Group was unchanged on 24 cents. The clothing chain reported a full-year loss of $183,000 after costs related to the sale of its Babycity business and relocation of marketing and distribution to Auckland. Sales fell to $111 million from $115.7 million a year earlier.
Trade Me, the online auction site controlled by Fairfax Media, was unchanged on $3.98. Neil Graham, founder of New Zealand's biggest road transport company, Mainfreight is taking on Trade Me with the launch of a new online auction and classified site, Wheedle.co.nz on Monday.
"I don't think anyone will panic. Good healthy competition should be welcomed," says Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.
"The first mover advantage that Trade Me has managed to achieve creates a tough segment to break into – from a consumer's point of view good luck to them."
Mainfreight shares fell 1.6% to $10.20. The stock has gained about 5% this year. F&P Healthcare gained 2.8% to $2.23.
The decline was led by Goodman Fielder, the food ingredients manufacturer whose brands include Edmonds baking products and Vogel's bread, down 6% to 62 cents.
Contact Energy, the country's biggest listed electricity generator, rose 1.5% to $5.56.
"Investors are taking a more favourable view on Contact's management team. We keep coming away impressed," Mr Lister says. "The market is just giving them more of the credibility tick."
Sky Network, the pay-TV company controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, rose 0.2% to $5.08.
"Sky looks reasonably well priced. People are looking to seek the stocks that have underperformed and Sky TV is one of them," Mr Lister says.
Share in Auckland International Airport, the country's biggest gateway, rose 0.2% to $2.63 after it had its credit rating outlook upgraded to "positive" by rating agency Standard & Poor's due to a smaller-than-expected spending programme to cope with congestion at its domestic terminal.
The stock has gained about 5% this year.
"It doesn't make a huge amount of difference from an investor's perspective but no one will complain about a rating upgrade," Mr Lister says.
Telecom, New Zealand's largest company, rose 1% to $2.42 and Fletcher Building, New Zealand's biggest construction company, gained 0.15% to $6.68.
The gainers were led by Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, which makes respirators and sleep apnea products, up 2.7% to $2.23.
Shares in NZAX-listed Chatham Rock Phosphate rocketed 30.5% to 30 cents, their highest since listing in 2006 after announcing it will seek a further $US10 million in a Toronto Stock Exchange listing in the next three months to support its offshore phosphate mining venture, which Edison Investment Research values at $1.87 a share in a new research report.
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