New Zealand shares fell for a fourth straight day, though losses slowed today, with Tower, Kiwi Property Group and Investore Property.
The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 14.48 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,196.24. Within the index, 30 stocks fell, 14 gained and six were unchanged. Turnover was $147.5 million.
"The market's a bit softer but it's certainly not as weak as it has been, there's continuation of pressure on some of the larger cap stocks in selling volumes but it's not as big," said Shane Solly, director at Harbour Asset Management.
"New Zealand's had a massive gain in the stock market, price-to-earnings ratios are at three-decade highs, so our market is very fully priced and we really need strong economic statistics and companies delivering the earnings to support it," he said.
"We've recently seen companies coming out with reasonably positive comments, but the market as a whole is a bit quieter today."
The local index is down 3.6 per cent this week, having lost 2.5 per cent on Monday following a Wall Street sell off driven by comments made by US Federal Reserve officials about the likelihood of a US rate increase, and has continued to drop since. It's now at its lowest point since July 20. The Fed's next meeting is over September 20-21 in Washington.
"Everyone's poised and ready for what may come out of the US overnight, but within the next week we'll see a lot more indicators," Solly said.
Steel & Tube Holdings was the worst performer, down 7.5 per cent, or 17c, to $2.11. It gave up rights to a 13.5c final dividend today.
Freightways, which gave up a 14.5c dividend, fell 21c to $6.67, while Comvita gained 3.9c to $11.15 despite giving up rights to a 2c dividend. Tower dropped 4.2 per cent to $1.02.
Property stocks fell, with Kiwi Property Group shedding 2.6 per cent to $1.49, Investore Property down 1.9 per cent to $1.58, and Argosy Property declining 1.3 per cent to $1.12.
"They've been holding up very well, they've kind of avoided being hit by that interest rate sensitivity up until now but they're seeing some selling," Solly said.
New Zealand Refining Co was the best performer, up 3.7 per cent to $2.26, while Sky Network Television rose 2.5 per cent to $4.91 and Heartland Bank gained 1.9 per cent to $1.58.
Outside the main index, BurgerFuel Worldwide's NZAX-listed shares rose 0.6 per cent to $1.61.
The burger chain franchisor is going ahead with expansion in North America, despite the ending of its deal with Subway franchisor, Franchise Brands.
That deal would have seen the American operator take up to a 50 per cent stake in the business, but Subway co-founder Fred de Luca died last year, leaving the agreement in limbo. It's looking to the city of Indianapolis in Indiana as the site of its first potential store in the United States.