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NZX share trading snaps 20 months of growth in May

The volume of share trading snapped 20 months of growth in May, falling from the same month a year earlier when the government listed the first of its partially privatised power companies.

The number of trades on the NZX fell 8 percent to 113,343 in May from a year earlier, with transactions worth less than $50,000 down 6.8 percent to 105,233, according to the stock exchange's monthly shareholder metrics. Daily average value traded tumbled 25 percent to $163 million and total value traded dropped 28 percent to $2.6 billion. Equity trading declined 7.6 percent to 110,526 and value traded sank 29 percent to $3.5 billion.

The stock market was reinvigorated in May last year when the government listed MightyRiverPower in the first of its partial privatisations. The initial float attracted the most interest with 113,857 individual investors in the public sale of MRP. Since then, the government has listed Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy, and sold down its stake in Air New Zealand.

At the same time the NZX has attracted new listings in its own right, including Z Energy and Synlait Milk, and is preparing for a new pipeline of initial public offerings this year.

Today's data shows the stock exchange's debt market continued to struggle, with a 21 percent slide in the number of trades to 2,817 and a 13 percent drop in the value traded to $95 million.

Issuers raised $23 million across nine events in May, taking the year-to-date total to $749 million. Some $410 million of new capital was listed in May, including the float of private education provider Intueri Education Group.

The number of equity securities increased 0.6 percent to 166 in May from a year earlier, while debt security numbers dropped 8.6 percent to 85 and other securities fell 14 percent to 6.

The market value of all equity was $89.6 billion, or 39.5 percent of gross domestic product, as at May 31, up 20 percent from a year earlier. Debt market capitalisation fell 1.7 percent to $13.6 billion, or 6 percent of GDP.

The benchmark NZX 50 index fell 1 percent in May to 5178.435, though was up 15 percent from a year earlier. It closed yesterday at 5159.347.

NZX shares fell 0.8 percent to $1.30 yesterday, and have gained 4.8 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'sell' based on three analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $1.27.