NZ shares fell for the fourth straight session, led lower by Trade Me Group, Chorus and NZME as News Corp sold its stake in the local news provider.
The S&P/NZX50 index dropped 29.47 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 7167.82. Within the index, 29 stocks fell, 12 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $140.3 million.
The local index is down 2.6 per cent this week and is near a three-month low, having seen heavy selling as the appetite for yield appears to be drying up as the US Federal Reserve has indicated it's closer to interest rate hikes.
"The key thing that's changed has been this chase for yield, which in our view had driven many New Zealand names past fundamental fair value, so it's left a bit of a gap as the chase for yield around the world has been unwinding," said Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management. "There are two reasons for it: One, the views of the Fed, and the potential that November could even be time for a rate rise, while December's looking quite certain; and second, the Japanese central bank has changed from quantitative easing to yield targeting.
"For what has been a relatively moderate lift in long bond yield returns around the world, yield stocks have been smoked and New Zealand is full of many companies with high yields but limited growth. Having been an extraordinarily strong performer, New Zealand is coming under a little pressure - at long last," Goodson said.
Trade Me Group led the index lower, down 4.4 per cent to $5.38. New Zealand Refining Co dropped 2.8 per cent to $2.42 and Metlifecare declined 2.8 per cent and $5.92.
Chorus shed 2.3 per cent to $3.76. The telecommunications company has handed more of its NZ ultrafast broadband network work to Australia's Visionstream, while warning the cost of the project will be at the top end of its projected range. It's also weighing up its future capitalisation policies over next generation access costs that weren't in scope when Chorus was carved out of Telecom and will update guidance later.
Heartland Bank was the best performer, up 2.7 per cent to $1.50, while Spark NZ gained 1.7 per cent to $3.51 and Fletcher Building rose 0.9 per cent to $10.27.
Outside the benchmark index, NZME fell 4 per cent to 73c. News Corporation has sold its 14.9 per cent stake at 67.8c per share, a significant discount, in transactions on both the NZX and ASX.