2 mins to read

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall, investor appetite drops ahead of Reserve Bank announcement

The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 70.4 points, or 1 percent, to 6,795.71

Sophie Boot
Tue, 26 Apr 2016

New Zealand shares fell as demand dried up ahead of a Reserve Bank update, with Meridian Energy and Vector hit hardest.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 70.4 points, or 1 percent, to 6,795.71. Within the index, 35 stocks fell, eight were unchanged and six rose. Turnover was $181.9 million.

"Offshore markets have influenced investors locally today, and we appear to have a bit of profit taking on stocks which have done pretty well," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "There was always going to be a correction at some stage, and whether this is the start of it is anyone's guess. At the same time, most things are still looking pretty healthy out there in the economy so I think demand will stay relatively high for New Zealand shares."

The local bourse traded lower than markets across Asia, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4 percent, Japan's Nikkei 225 0.5 percent lower and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropping 0.7 percent at 5:30pm New Zealand time.

Williamson said today had seen fewer foreign buyers meaning the high prices those investors have been supporting over the past few weeks were not present today, as the Reserve Bank's Wednesday OCR update looms.

Meridian Energy, which has gained 12 percent this year, shed 4.5 percent to $2.53. It hit an all-time high of $2.735 last Wednesday.

"This is the third day down for them, they are coming off their highs but I think there was just strong demand for the shares a week ago which has dried up somewhat," Williamson said. "It really looks like the stocks that have risen the fastest have come in for a bit of profit taking. The sellers are back in control."

Vector declined 3.4 percent to $3.40, Xero shed 2.9 percent to $17, and Air New Zealand dropped 2.7 percent to $2.705.

SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 2.6 percent to $4.94 and Auckland International Airport dipped 2.2 percent to $6.265.

Rubber goods company Skellerup Holdings was the biggest gainer, up 1.4 percent to $1.42, while Westpac Banking Group rose 1.1 percent to $35.38 and retirement home builder and operator Ruman Healthcare advanced 0.5 percent to $8.86.

Spark New Zealand edged up 0.3 percent to $3.55. Its head of digital Tim Miles and ventures unit boss Rod Snodgrass will leave the country's biggest telecommunications company at the end of the year in an overhaul of its executive structure. Under chief executive Simon Moutter's tenure, Spark has put more emphasis on data and mobile services, which are now both bigger than traditional voice services.

Outside the main board, Kirkaldie & Stains was unchanged at $3.13. Veteran corporate raider Ron Brierley has increased his takeover offer for Kirks after his earlier offer was rejected by the former retailer's board. Brierley lifted his offer to $3 a share from the $2.75 he offered in March and extended the closing date by a month to June 12, according to a statement to the NZX.

"[The increased offer is] probably not surprising because it's been trading over $3 for some time, not that it really trades anyway - it's probably a bit of a struggle for him to pick up too much stock there, I would think," Williamson said. "He has been around the traps for a fair while, he often sees value where others don't."

SeaDragon dropped 7.1 percent to 1.3 cents. It missed its annual earnings guidance as a downturn in sales pushed down prices of Omega-2 oil and said the final cost of its Omega-3 refinery will be more than previously expected. It will publish its audited results next month, having previously forecast annual earnings of $144,000.


Sophie Boot
Tue, 26 Apr 2016
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall, investor appetite drops ahead of Reserve Bank announcement