NZ shares in 'catch-up' fall

Nuplex Industries, Xero, Chorus and 37 other stocks fell, while A2 Milk Co gained after a week of declines.
Nuplex Industries, Xero, Chorus and 37 other stocks fell, while A2 Milk Co gained after a week of declines.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 Index fell as the market caught up with global losses on a day of relatively subdued trading.

Nuplex Industries, Xero, Chorus and 37 other stocks fell, while A2 Milk Co gained after a week of declines.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 55.29 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6158.1. Within the index, 40 stocks fell, six were unchanged and four rose.

Turnover was $86.3 millionThe decline came as shares across Asia were largely positive, with China's Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index rising 2.8 percent in afternoon trading, Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 1.2 percent, and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index up 0.1 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent on the afternoon's trading, seeing its fifth straight day of decline with concerns about slowing Chinese growth continuing to weigh on equity markets.

"It's a little bit of a correction," said Grant Davies, investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

"While New Zealand may be one of the worst-performing markets in the area today, we've been the best performing market in the past year. We haven't come back as far as Australia over the last couple of days, so this is a bit of a catch-up.

"The lack of volume today also suggests it's a bit overblown, there's a lack of buyers and liquidity rather than people rushing for the exits," he said.

"New Zealand is a reasonably small market, and some people are taking profit to move into other markets overseas."

Nuplex led the index lower, dropping 3.6 percent to $4.50. Xero fell 3.3 percent to $17.50, and Chorus declined 2.3 percent to $3.90.There is "no reason to panic" about Xero, Davies said. T the stock is notoriously volatile, and a 3 percent move either way isn't unusual. Fisher and Paykel Healthcare fell 2.2 percent to $8.37.

Freightways dropped 1.9 percent to $6.13, a five-week low, and Warehouse Group fell 1.9 percent to $2.60. New Zealand Refining fell 1.9 percent to $3.63.NZX dropped 1.9 percent to $1.03.

The listing of local government bonds and share sales by Australian banks to bolster their balance sheets eclipsed capital raised from initial public offerings in 2015, according to NZX's shareholder metrics released today.

A total of $1.7 billion of new capital was raised from IPOs and compliance listings last year, down from $4.7 billion in 2014, while $8.1 billion of new debt was listed, up from $1.7 billion.

Metro Performance Glass fell 1.8 percent to $1.66 and Trustpower dropped 1.8 percent to $7.71.

The handful of stocks which rose today were led by A2 Milk Co, which had tumbled in the first week of trading fro 2016 as nervousness about China sapped the stock's pre-Christmas momentum.

A2 rose 2.3 percent today to $1.78, having fallen nearly 22 percent from its Dec. 29 record high of $2.27.Steel & Tube Holdings rose 2.2 percent to $2.30, and Meridian rose 0.2 percent to $2.30.

Air New Zealand was the only other stock to rise today, up 0.2 percent to $2.95. Outside the benchmark index, IkeGPS was unchanged at 70 cents, valuing the company at $35 million.

The laser measurement tool developer had its stock halted pending a placement of shares to some institutional and wholesale investors. The stocks have declined 14 percent in the past 12 months.

Michael Hill International stock was unchanged at 98 cents. Much of the stock is held by members of the Hill family, giving it a free float of $160.7 million, according to Reuters data.

The listed jewellery retailer increased first-half sales 8.7 percent and maintained its gross margin even as the US dollar strengthened.

VMob shares fell 1.9 percent to 51 cents today, valuing the company at $41.8 million, after it reached an eight-month high of 52 cents yesterday.

The mobile advertising firm is migrating to the main board of the NZX after its stock gained enough to lift its market capitalisation over the required $40 million mark.

VMob has surged 46 percent in the past two weeks and is now well above the 34 cents apiece investors paid in the most recent fund-raising round.

- BusinessDesk

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