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Telecom shares lead market drop

NZX 50 slips back after overseas demand for dividend yields drove index to 5-year high.

Shares in Kirkcaldie & Stains jumped 25 per cent to $3.25. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Shares in Kirkcaldie & Stains jumped 25 per cent to $3.25. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Shares in Kirkcaldie & Stains jumped 25 per cent to $3.25. Picture / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand shares fell, led by Telecom, as investors looked for reasons to drive the market higher after offshore demand for dividend yields drove the NZX 50 Index to a 5-year high this month.

The NZX 50 fell 32.48 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 3951.29. Within the index, 29 stocks fell, 15 rose and six were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $66 million.

Telecom sank 3.5 per cent to $2.38. At yesterday's price it has a dividend yield of 12.1 per cent, almost triple the 4.32 per cent on an average 1-year term deposit, said interest.co.nz.

Faced with interest rates near record lows investors have turned to the equity market for better returns, sending money into the best yielding stocks.

Goodman Property Trust, up 0.5 per cent to $1.06, has a dividend yield of 8 per cent. Precinct Properties NZ rose 1.5 per cent to $1.035 and has a dividend yield of 6.59 per cent.

Kiwi Income Property Trust was up 0.4 per cent to $1.175 for a dividend yield of 7.47.

Offshore money and the general increase from KiwiSaver have helped push the NZX 50 above 4000 for the first time since early January 2008.

"We had a fairly good run and the market needs something to kick it along," said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr. "A lot of savers are being penalised with interest rates so low. What's driven the rally so hard has been yields."

Restaurant Brands rose 4.1 per cent to $2.52. The company has a dividend yield of about 9.9 per cent. Trade Me, which holds its annual meeting tomorrow, rose 1.6 per cent to $4.45.

Cashed-up department store operator Kirkcaldie & Stains soared 25 per cent to $3.25 on speculation the company could return capital after selling a property worth more than its market capitalisation.

Among the biggest stocks, Freightways fell 2.7 per cent to $4.28, trimming this year's gain to about 20 per cent. TrustPower fell about 2 per cent to $8.55.

New Zealand Oil & Gas fell 1.7 per cent to 85c. The company said it farmed out a 25 per cent stake in its Kaheru prospect off the South Taranaki coast to ASX-listed Beach Energy for US$3 million ($3.6 million).

Fletcher Building fell 0.7 per cent to $7.07 as the Government unveiled long-term measures to lift housing affordability including a review of supply-side construction costs.

Acurity Health Group was unchanged at $5.91 after it said chief executive Andrew Blair will step down as the head of the private hospital operator after six years in the top job.BusinessDesk

- BusinessDesk

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