China's wobbles weigh on Kiwi market

A2 Milk shares fall as concerns over slowdown in Asian giant's economy affect infant formula maker
New Zealand Refining rose 1.7 per cent to $3.70.
New Zealand Refining rose 1.7 per cent to $3.70.

New Zealand shares extended their slide from the record high reached on December 31, with concerns about faltering growth in China weighing on sentiment. A2 Milk Co, Sky Network Television and Fletcher Building declined.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped 15.56 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6262.52. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 19 rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $92.8 million.

The NZX 50 extended yesterday's 1.1 per cent decline, when it joined a global rout in equity markets after figures showed a deeper contraction in Chinese manufacturing.

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A2 Milk led the index lower, falling 4.2 per cent to $1.84. The company's share value skyrocketed over 230 per cent last year, with strong Chinese demand for its infant formula driving momentum.

Fears about a slowdown in the Chinese economy are having a negative impact on A2's share price, said Grant Davies, investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

"A2 has fairly heavy exposure to China with their dairy at the moment, and they're leading the market down," Davies said. "People are probably quite happy to take a bit of profit too, there will be plenty out there sitting on decent gains, and why not take a bit of profit on A2, particularly when the market's down, you can take a little out of A2 and look for other bargains on the market."

Sky TV fell 3.6 per cent to $4.34. New Zealand's dominant pay TV provider announced in October that it expects profit will fall as much as 11 per cent in 2016, with largely flat revenue and increased capital expenditure. The company is battling to retain customers against the rise of on-demand streaming services, such as US content provider Netflix. The shares fell 23 per cent last year, from $5.99 on January 5, 2015.

"It's the same old story with Sky TV, the changing marketplace is obviously impacting investor confidence," Davies said.

Dual listed Fletcher Building fell 2.2 per cent to $7.21, Westpac Banking Corp declined 1.5 per cent to $34.52, and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group dipped 1.3 per cent to $28.60, echoing declines on the ASX.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund dipped 0.2 per cent to $6.11, after dairy product prices unexpectedly slipped in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction. The market was weaker than expected, Davies said, and that stock and the New Zealand dollar had declined accordingly.

Spark New Zealand rose 1.7 per cent to $3.305. Morningstar upgraded the stock to "hold" from "reduce". New Zealand Refining rose 1.7 per cent to $3.70.

Property stocks rose, with Argosy Property up 1.3 per cent to $1.18, Property for Industry up 1.3 per cent to $1.61, and Kiwi Property Group rising 1.1 per cent to $1.37.

Warehouse Group, which owns the Noel Leeming chain, rose 1.1 per cent to $2.68. Noel Leeming's competitor Dick Smith Holdings, which is listed on the ASX, on Tuesday announced it had been put into receivership.

The receivers hope to sell the consumer electronics chain as a going concern.

- BusinessDesk

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