New Zealand shares followed Wall Street lower on renewed speculation the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year, dimming the attraction of stocks. Tegel Group Holdings, Genesis Energy and Orion Health Group fell.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 81.3 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 7,271.16. Within the index, 37 stocks fell, eight rose and five were unchanged. Turnover was $153.4 million.
Wall Street's S&P 500 index dropped 0.5 per cent as the latest comments from Federal Reserve officials underpinned bets the central bank will raise interest rates, possibly as early as next month. Richmond Fed's Jeffrey Lacker told reporters he would have voted in favour of an interest rate increase at the central bank's September policy meeting had he been able to vote, according to Reuters.
"The New Zealand market's pretty weak - overnight, the Fed [president] Lacker talked about the potential for interest rates to go higher, and our market has taken it right between the eyes," said Shane Solly, director at Harbour Asset Management. "Utility stocks in particular have copped it, they're relatively big, relatively liquid and they're great when bond yields are falling - we're just getting the other side of the equation here, and that's really what's taken the market lower."
Tegel was the worst performer, down 4.4 per cent to $1.52. The poultry group, which was taken public by private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners in May this year, rose 9 per cent in its NZX debut and traded as high as $1.78 in August, but was sold off heavily in September.
Across the Tasman, Inghams, which is the largest chicken producer in Australia and the second-largest in New Zealand, is heading for an initial public offering and ASX listing, and there have been concerns institutions may be driving down Tegel's share price to get a more favourable price for Inghams.
"Undoubtedly what's happening with Inghams is influencing the Tegel stock price, there has been some concerns that there has been some discounting in the fresh chicken market in New Zealand. There are some differences between the two businesses, so it would be an interesting theory," Solly said.
Genesis Energy dropped 4 per cent to $2.025, Orion Health shed 3.4 per cent to $3.42, and Argosy Property fell 2.7 per cent to $1.085.
Infratil declined 3.7 per cent to $3.13. The infrastructure investor has teamed up with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to invest in US renewable energy development company Longroad Energy Holdings, which is eyeing developments worth as much as US$100 million.
Trustpower, which is controlled by Infratil, dropped 0.7 per cent to $7.60. It has delayed its plans to carve out its windfarms and renewable development pipeline into a standalone business after a once-in-50-year storm caused significant damage to the state's transmission system.
Westpac Banking Corp was the best performer on the index, up 2.4 per cent to $32.30.
NZX rose 1.9 per cent to $1.05 and Trade Me Group gained 1.4 per cent to $5.68.
Outside the benchmark index, Pushpay Holdings dropped 13 per cent to $2.23. Director Chris Huljich participated in the mobile payments app developer's A$40 million capital raise ahead of a planned secondary listing on the ASX next week. The company sold 19.1 million shares at A$2.09 ($2.20) apiece to institutional and eligible investors from New Zealand, Australia and Asia in a bookbuild, and some existing shareholders sold about 6.7 million shares worth A$14 million into the offer, the Auckland-domiciled, Redmond, US-headquartered company said in a statement.