A takeover offer for NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZFSU) offered some rare positive news for investors in the New Zealand sharemarket, as most stocks succumbed to general weakness in international markets.
The benchmark NZX-50 index fell 21.15 points or 0.7% to 2964.60. Across the whole market, there were 22 rises and 57 falls among the 110 stocks traded. Turnover was a thin $40.7 million.
Leading stocks came under selling pressure with Fletcher Building down 9c to 753 and Contact Energy down 6c to 568, while Telecom eased 1c to 188.
"We're really just following the lead of the offshore markets from Friday and also the markets that are open in Australasia today," said Grant Williamson, of Hamilton Hindin Greene.
"Once again we certainly have not fallen by as much as the majority of markets, so our volatility is not as high as what is happening offshore," he said.
Shares in NZSFU jumped 29% or 12c to 53c – just 2c below the offer price launched today by Singapore's Olam International for the 81.5% of the company it does not own.
Although the offer is conditional and NZFSU advised shareholders to wait for a target company statement before deciding whether to sell, Mr Williamson said investors were not expecting a competing bid.
PGG Wrightson shares gained 3c to 50 after it said it had entered into a lock-up agreement with Olam for its 11.5% stake in NZFSU.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare dropped 5c to 297 – its lowest price since October –while F&P Appliances added 1c to 54.
Retailers Kathmandu and The Warehouse each lost 2c – to 199 and 350 respectively.
NZ Refinery dropped 11c to 329 as oil prices fell below $US76 a barrel, amid fears the US economy is slipping back into recession.
Other falls among top 50 stocks included Sky City down 3c to 293, Steel and Tube 13c to 210, Tower 2c to 180, Auckland Airport 3c to 191 and Sky TV down 4c to 474.
NZX, which has started buying back some of its own shares, gained 5c to 150 and Freightways firmed 3c to 268.