New Zealand shares dropped over a per cent as investors felt pre-US election jitters, with Tilt Renewables, Orion Health Group and Trade Me Group leading the index lower.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 76.75 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 6,853.74. Within the index, 29 stocks fell, 12 rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $150.3 million.

"There's pretty broad selling, and it's all pre-election risk-off in heightened uncertainty," said Daniel Metcalfe, senior investment advisor at OMF. "The market's had a pretty good run over the last few years, and this is one of the most interesting and fearful events we've had to deal with for a while. The volatility index in the US has increased quite significantly, it's spiked up having been quiet for some time. Spreads have widened significantly, which is a sign of people's fear right now."

Tilt Renewables, the windfarm operator carved out of Trustpower, was the worst performer on the index, down 4.6 per cent to $2.10, while Ryman Healthcare dropped 3.8 per cent to $8.56.

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Orion Health Group hit an eight-month low, falling 3.8 per cent to $3.07.

"They've really been an underperformer - since the IPO, they started off winning some contracts earlier in the year and turned around market expectations, but they've been taking a lot longer to deliver the goods that everyone might want them to. The risk-off is exaggerated in those pure growth stories," Metcalfe said.

Trade Me Group dropped 3.3 per cent to $4.65, which Metcalfe said was due to Facebook's increased online marketplace offering.

New Zealand Refining Co was the best performer, up 4 per cent to $2.34. Freightways gained 1.3 per cent to $6.45 and Genesis Energy advanced 1 per cent to $1.94.

SkyCity Entertainment Group resumed its falls from last week, down 1 per cent to $3.81. In October, the casino operator posted weaker first-quarter revenue, while interim chief executive John Mortensen warned there would be a drop in the immediate term in the business it gets from high-rollers following a Chinese government corruption crackdown.

Outside the benchmark index, Cavalier Corp shed 18 per cent to 64 cents. The carpet maker said 2017 earnings may fall as much as 52 per cent to between $3 million to $5 million in the year ending June 30, 2017, from $6.3 million a year earlier, as it incurs one-time costs to consolidate its manufacturing operations.

(BusinessDesk)

-BUSINESSDESK