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Current as of 20/01/17 01:19PM NZST

Index cools off as earnings reports due

By Jonathan Underhill

Fletcher Building shares fell 2.4 per cent yesterday to $9.69 ahead of today's annual result. Photo /  Natalie Slade
Fletcher Building shares fell 2.4 per cent yesterday to $9.69 ahead of today's annual result. Photo / Natalie Slade

New Zealand shares fell from a record led by Fletcher Building and Spark New Zealand ahead of their results over the next two days. Summerset Group rose to an all-time high.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 77.68 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 7,310.67, snapping three days of gains. Within the index, 34 stocks declined, 12 gained, and five were unchanged. Turnover was $172 million.

Fletcher Building fell 2.4 per cent to $9.69 ahead of tomorrow's annual result, which Forsyth Barr estimates will show a 0.8 per cent increase in profit to $402 million on a 3.7 per cent gain in revenue to $8.98 billion.

"There's certainly a degree of profit taking on Fletcher ahead of its result," said James Smalley, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene in Christchurch. "People are being a little bit conservative locking in some gains while they wait and see what happens in the results, then looking to reallocate after earnings are over."

Spark led the benchmark index lower, falling 2.6 per cent to $3.72.

The country's biggest telecommunications company today came out opposing a proposed tie-up between rival Vodafone New Zealand and pay-TV operator Sky Network Television, ahead of an earnings announcement Thursday. Sky TV which reports next week, declined 0.6 per cent to $4.84.

"It's no surprise they oppose a major competitor getting into bed with Sky TV, it's almost a given," Smalley said.

Power companies dropped. Meridian Energy fell 2.3 per cent to $2.80, Contact Energy declined 2.1 per cent to $5.16 and Mercury Energy decreased 1.8 per cent to $3.01, while Auckland International Airport dropped 1.1 per cent to $7.06 and SkyCity Entertainment Group was down 1 per cent to $4.92.

Companies reporting tomorrow include NZX, which gained 1 per cent to $1.04 and Nuplex Industries which was unchanged at $5.33.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 1.3 per cent to $10.61 after the medical devices maker filed a patent infringement notice in the US against rival ResMed.

Smalley said investors are still chasing dividend yields, highlighted by results today from Heartland Bank and Opus International Consultants. Heartland Bank gained 0.7 per cent to $1.44 after raising its dividend on an increased profit, whereas Opus International sank 9.5 per cent to $1.05 after slashing its return to shareholders on a slump in earnings.

Summerset Group posted the biggest gain on the day, up 2.7 per cent to $5.43, adding to Monday's 4.8 per cent increase on better than expected earnings. Rival Metlifecare gained 1.2 per cent to $5.90.

- BusinessDesk

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