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Current as of 09/12/16 07:39PM NZST

Index moves lower as investors continue to book profits

By Paul McBeth

Kathmandu Holdings rose 2 per cent to $2.04. Photo / Nick Reed
Kathmandu Holdings rose 2 per cent to $2.04. Photo / Nick Reed

New Zealand shares fell, led by Orion Health Group, as the export-focused software developer contends with a strong kiwi dollar, while Warehouse Group and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings gained on their earnings.

The S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 14.98 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7296.73. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 18 rose and eight were unchanged.

Turnover was $154.6 million.

"Even offshore strength is not having any effect on investors continuing to take profits on the local market," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Green.

Orion Health led the index lower, down 5.2 per cent to $3.50, having risen 2.5 per cent on Thursday after the company's annual meeting. The health software developer is on track to return to profit in 2018, though the strength of the kiwi is crimping revenue in local currency terms and drained more cash than anticipated, the chairman said.

"The commentary wasn't overly positive because of the strong kiwi dollar and that's obviously influencing that share price, which has had some pretty wild swings this year," Williamson said. The stock soared as high as $5.31 in February, having started the year at $3.23, and has fallen back since.

Air New Zealand fell 2.9 per cent to $1.82, Heartland Bank dropped 1.9 per cent to $1.54 and Chorus fell 1.6 per cent to $3.73.

The biggest gainer was Kathmandu Holdings, up 2 per cent to $2.04, while Australia & New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.6 per cent to $28.99 and Tower gained 1.5 per cent to $1.

Warehouse Group rose 1.4 per cent to $2.94. The country's largest listed retailer lifted annual earnings 12 per cent, just beating the top end of its guidance.

Outside the benchmark index, Hallenstein Glasson gained 4.3 per cent to $3.14. The clothes retailer posted a 21 per cent decline in full-year profit, reflecting a loss from its Glassons unit in Australia and weaker earnings from its flagship menswear chain.

In the first six weeks of the current year, sales are up about 9 per cent. Glassons is recovering and "we anticipate a much-improved profit performance for the current trading period," chief executive Graeme Popplewell said.

Intueri Education Group was placed in a trading halt on the NZX and ASX. After the market closed, it announced the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will either cancel the registration of its Australian organisations - Online Courses Australia and Conwal & Associates - or impose sanctions of lesser severity, following audits done in July 2016.

- BusinessDesk

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