Westpac drags index lower after result

New Zealand shares fell after Westpac Banking Corp posted earnings that missed estimates on increased impairments. Photo / NZPA
New Zealand shares fell after Westpac Banking Corp posted earnings that missed estimates on increased impairments. Photo / NZPA

New Zealand shares fell after Westpac Banking Corp posted earnings that missed estimates on increased impairments. ANZ Banking Group, which also reports this week, and Kathmandu Holdings were among leading decliners.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 28.77 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6791.82.

Within the index, 31 stocks fell, 14 rose and four were unchanged. Turnover was $122 million.

Westpac dropped 5 per cent to $32.34 and ANZ Bank fell 4.2 per cent to $25.53 on the NZX, pacing declines on the S&P/ASX 200 Index.

Westpac posted first-half cash profit, which excludes one-time items, of A$3.9 billion. While that was up from A$3.78 billion a year earlier it missed analyst estimates as the charge for bad debts surged to A$667 million, a six-year high.

"Yes it did miss [estimates] but not by a huge amount," said Forsyth Barr broker David Price. "The Australian market is fairly brutal when companies don't make forecast."

Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing retailer that counts Australia as its largest market, fell 1.9 per cent to $1.56.

Meridian Energy fell 3.6 per cent to $2.555, leading declines among utility stocks, Mighty River Power, which is to change its name to Mercury Energy in line with its retail division, fell about 3 per cent to $2.93.

TrustPower fell 1.3 per cent to $7.65.

Vector dropped 1.2 per cent to $3.31 and Contact Energy fell 0.2 per cent to $5.07. Z Energy, which last week got Commerce Commission approval to buy Caltex petrol stations, rose 0.5 per cent to $7.88.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund rose 0.3 per cent to $5.83. This week's GlobalDairyTrade auction is expected to record another small gain in prices of dairy products.

Among other large-cap companies, retirement village operator Summerset Group fell 1.8 per cent to $4.36 and retailer Warehouse Group declined 1.5 per cent to $2.72. Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, fell 1.2 per cent to $16.20 and A2 Milk fell 1.1 per cent to $1.75.

Price said there has been "indiscriminate buying from offshore" of New Zealand's biggest listed companies and yesterday's selloff was just as widespread.

Volumes were relatively light and may remain light this week as many fund managers head to Australia for a Macquarie investment conference, where companies are invited to give presentations.

Price said the conference often becomes the venue for "confessions season" with some companies choosing to give guidance or make other comments about their performance.

Investors were also conscious of the Kiwi dollar having gained back up to US70c, creating an extra drag for exporters and companies getting much of their revenue overseas. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 0.3 per cent to $9.12.

- BusinessDesk

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