MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares snap 12 days of gains; Spark, Fletcher, Ryman fall

New Zealand shares fell, paced by Spark New Zealand and Fletcher Building, snapping 12 consecutive days of gains as some investors looked to book recent gains. Nuplex Industries fell on disappointing guidance.

The NZX 50 Index fell 21.105 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5402.154. Within the index, 19 stocks fell, 24 rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $108 million.

Investor appetite for dividend yields in a low interest rate environment had pushed the benchmark index to fresh record closes over the past consecutive nine days. Stocks bought for their reliable income slipped. Spark, formerly Telecom Corp, fell 2.5 percent to $3.10. Fletcher, New Zealand's largest listed company, declined 2.2 percent to $8.45. Ryman Healthcare, the country's largest retirement village operator, decreased 2.2 percent to $7.73.

"We've finally had a down day after a dozen being up," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "We were always due for a bit of profit taking because the market has had a pretty good run."

Nuplex, the special chemical manufacturer, dropped 1.6 percent to $3.09 after saying it expects annual operating earnings to be $115 million and $125 million in the 2015 financial year, after it completes the sale of two non-core businesses in Australian and New Zealand. That's below the $125.7 million made in 2014. Last year the Auckland-based company revised its earnings guidance twice, citing competition across the Australia and New Zealand businesses that squeezed margins as it tried to restructure the business for earnings growth.

"It's a company that's been going through restructuring for some time now but they don't seem to be able to lift that bottom line very much," Williamson said. "It's still difficult conditions for them."

Kathmandu Holdings, the outdoor goods retailer, led the benchmark index lower, falling 2.8 percent to $3.12.

Vector, the Auckland lines company, was the benchmark's best performer on the day gaining 2.2 percent to $2.76.

MightyRiverPower rose 0.9 percent to $2.84. The energy company will pay 5 cents per share to its 102,000 shareholders on Dec. 11, with a record date of Nov. 20, it said in a statement. That amounts to about $70 million in total. The company will update shareholders about capital management initiatives and the dividend policy at tomorrow's annual meeting.

NZX fell 0.8 percent to $1.18. The stock market operator said the volume of trades on the New Zealand stock exchange increased in October compared to a year earlier, boosted by a rise in lower value equity transactions and more trading in the debt market.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand fell 1.4 percent, or 5 cents, to $3.65. The nation's largest fast food operator agreed to buy seven Carl's Jr stores owned and operated by Forsgren NZ for $10.5 million, making it the sole operator of the burger chain brand in New Zealand. The stock also shed rights to its 7.5 cents per share interim dividend.

Outside the benchmark index, several other stocks also shed rights to dividends. Augusta Capital rose 0.4 percent, or half a cent, to 96 cents as it gave up rights to its 1.25 cents interim dividend. Seeka Kiwifruit Industries dropped 4.4 percent, or 15 cents, to $3.25 as it shed rights to its 8 cent interim dividend.

Acurity Health Group was unchanged at $7.20. Connor Healthcare's takeover for the 29 percent of Acurity it doesn't already own has stalled after the Commerce Commission requested an extension past the offer's closing date.

Briscoe Group was unchanged at $2.80. The homeware and sporting goods retail chain said it will "easily exceed" last year's annual profit of $33.58 million, after third-quarter sales rose 4.5 percent on the strength of its sporting goods unit, maintaining momentum through the start of the year.

(BusinessDesk)