NZ shares keep falling to hit 3-month low

By Sophie Boot

Fletcher Building construction site on the corner of Halsey St and Fanshawe St, Auckland (Fonterra's new HQ). 24 January 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Natalie Slade NZH 07May15 - NZH 23J
Fletcher Building construction site on the corner of Halsey St and Fanshawe St, Auckland (Fonterra's new HQ). 24 January 2014 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Natalie Slade NZH 07May15 - NZH 23J

New Zealand shares fell again, hitting a three-month low as the main index fell below 7,000 for the first time since July. Summerset Holdings, Genesis Energy and Fletcher Building led the losses.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 93.28 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 6,973.09. Within the index, 38 stocks fell, nine rose and two were unchanged. Turnover was $158.4 million.

The index has now fallen 7.89 per cent from a high of 7,571.10 on September 7. A fall of 10 per cent or more is regarded as a correction.

"We're out of favour with international investors who are taking a few profits and looking to reallocate elsewhere in the world, move out of yield stocks into growth stocks, and you're not seeing local buyers pick up the slack - they're either doing the same or they're just waiting for the dust to settle," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

"You'd think you would have seen a few bargain hunters at this point but not so much, people obviously want to see how long this sell-off lasts for before they enter the fray. There are still a lot of reasons to be a bit cautious," Lister said.

"It's just a question of how much further it goes, there are some opportunities emerging but no-one wants to get in front of that sell-off in case it becomes cheaper again."

Summerset Holdings led the index lower, down 3.7 per cent to $4.66. Genesis Energy dropped 3.4 per cent to $1.98 and Goodman Property Trust declined 3.1 per cent to $1.235.

Fletcher Building shed 2.9 per cent to $10.20. The construction and building products group reiterated its forecast for 2017 operating earnings while lifting the amount it plans to spend on land for housing as it chases a target of boosting the number of homes it brings to market each year.

"It was all pretty positive commentary, it's just a weak day on the market and it's weak across the board," Lister said. "Just about everybody's down - it was good news, but you're fighting the tide of bigger things at play. It's more a case for those bigger macro drivers, the shift in investor preferences is overwhelming what's happening at a stock-specific level."

Air New Zealand was the best performer, up 2.6 per cent to $1.80, while Xero rose 2.2 per cent to $17.89 and A2 Milk Co gained 1.5 per cent to $1.98.

Chorus advanced 1.1 per cent to $3.63. The telecommunications network operator will continue to provide free non-standard residential ultrafast broadband installations until 2019, under an agreement with Crown Fibre Holdings which could see its debt repayments to the government entity delayed.

Z Energy improved 0.8 per cent to $7.78.

"They're holding an investor day tomorrow, maybe it's getting support ahead of that," Lister said. "People will be looking for comments about how the integration with the Chevron assets is going, and maybe there's an expectation there will be some positive commentary around that, that could be why it's getting support."

Outside the benchmark index, OceanaGold Corp rallied 8.2 per cent to $4.23. The NZX-listed gold miner has said an audit of its Didipio mine by the Philippines' Department of Environment and Natural Resources found it was in compliance with its permits but must do more to communicate with stakeholders. It was among 23 mining companies named last month that could have operations suspended because of outstanding social issues.

Tourism Holdings shed 2.7 per cent to $2.29. The campervan rental company said profit in the 2017 year may rise as much as 17 per cent as it benefits from increased visitor numbers and is open to acquisitions which could be funded by debt.

PGG Wrightson dropped 3.8 per cent to 51c. It expects operating earnings to decline this year, snapping three years of growth, amid weakness in some of the key agricultural commodity markets it has exposure to. Earnings at the rural services firm are closely aligned to the fortunes of the rural sector, where farmers rein in spending during periods of low commodity prices.

- BusinessDesk

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