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Market close: NZ shares fall, led by F&P Healthcare

Shares fall, led by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which shed its dividend as a seven-week high for the kiwi eroded investor confidence in local companies selling products into other markets.

Wed, 20 Jun 2012

BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand shares fell, led by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which shed its dividend as a seven-week high for the New Zealand dollar eroded investors' confidence in local companies that sell their products into other markets.

The NZX 50 index fell 35.59 points, or 1%, to 3444.79. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, six rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was about $101.4 million.

While F&P Healthcare went ex-dividend today, its 6.2% fall to $1.97 was in line with high-tech exporters, including Rakon, which was down 4.4% to 43 cents.

The company, which makes breathing respirators and makes more than half its sales in US dollars, was also hit by a strong New Zealand dollar which hit a seven-week high, and traded at 79.49 US cents at the close of local trading.

"All the international markets are showing green but NZX 50 has suffered on the strength of the New Zealand dollar," said Bryon Burke, head dealer at Craigs Investment Partners. "There is a little bit of a sell-off out of Aussie due to our dollar. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare - that’s a dollar story there."

Telecom, New Zealand’s biggest listed company, fell 2.2% to $2.48 and Auckland International Airport dropped 1.2% to $2.43.

Fletcher Building declined 1.6% to $6.21. The construction company's chief executive Jonathan Ling announced his resignation yesterday, effective September 30.

Mr Ling will be replaced by Mark Adamson, who heads the company's Laminates & Panels division.

Air New Zealand, the state-owned carrier, fell 1.2% to 86 cents, a day after naming Christopher Luxon as its new chief executive. Mr Luxon is the airline’s general manager for international routes and will replace Rob Fyfe at the end of the year.

Today the airline announced its long-haul passenger numbers rose 4.8% in May, led by an increase in the number of Kiwis departing for Asia and Australia.

"Air New Zealand is a significant New Zealand company and Fletcher is one of the largest. Someone different driving the ship is something to be watched by investors," Mr Burke said.

Westpac Banking was the biggest gainer on the NZX, up 1.7% to $27.20.

Goodman Property Trust, which owns the Highbrook Business Park in Auckland, rose 0.5% to 99.5 cents after yesterday announcing a plan to build a new office facility in Auckland's Greenlane.

The project is forecast to cost $21.4 million.

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Market close: NZ shares fall, led by F&P Healthcare