Investors turned their attention from shares to horses on Melbourne Cup day and a subdued New Zealand sharemarket posted its fourth significant loss in five trading days.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index slid steadily in the afternoon and closed at 12,992.50, down 37.81 points or 0.29 per cent, after reaching a high of 13,048.49 during the morning. The index recovered slightly in the last half hour matching session.
There were 50 gainers and 88 decliners across the whole market, and volume was light with 35.46 million shares worth $114.87 million changing hands.
The index – it has only had one gain over the last seven trading days – was unmoved by the record activity on Wall Street overnight.
All three leading indices reached all-time highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average increasing 0.26 per cent to 35,913.84 points, S&P 500 gaining 0.18 per cent to 4613.67, and Nasdaq Composite rising 0.63 per cent to 15,595.21.
Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla was again the star, jumping 8.49 per cent to US$1208.59 ($1684.86). It has risen from US$785 at the start of October and has tripled in price over the past 12 months.
The local market should have been impressed by the gallantry of Melbourne Cup winner, New Zealand-bred Verry Elleegant. But weighed down by rising interest rates at home, the market was more interested in the latest move by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
The bank hinted that it may start hiking its record low cash rate in 2023 rather than the earlier prediction of 2024. The rate has been at 0.1 per cent for a year, and there hasn't been a rise for 11 years.
But the September quarter consumer price index increased 2.1 per cent, creeping into the bank's preferred 2-3 per cent inflation band for the first since early 2016.
Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management, said following the higher inflation it looks like the Australian Reserve Bank will abandon its extraordinary loose monetary policy.
He said at home the property stocks were drifting off and energy companies were a little soft, even though interest rates are down slightly. But the rates have risen a lot over the last few days.
Stride Property was down 6c or 2.54 per cent to $2.30; Goodman Property Trust declined 5.5c or 2.21 per cent to $2.435; and Precinct Properties shed 3c or 1.82 per cent to $1.62.
Other interest rate-sensitive stocks Contact Energy was down 4c to $8.06; Mercury fell 9c to $6.08; Genesis declined 6.5c or 1.98 per cent to $3.21; and Trustpower shed 5c to $7.40. Meridian gained 4c to $4.97.
Westpac Banking Corporation had its second successive slide, falling $1.19 or 4.66 per cent to $24.34. ANZ Banking Group was down 18c to $29.22.
Goodson said Westpac's margins were weaker than expected and its cost higher. People have extrapolated those issues from what looked like a solid annual result.
Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare bucked the trend, rising 34c to $31.40; Skellerup Holdings was up 8c to $6.42; Move Logistics increased 6c or 3.43 per cent to $1.81; and NZME picked up 4c or 3.45 per cent to $1.20.
Scales Corporation increased 6c to $5.46; Geneva Finance rose 4c or 5.97 per cent to 71c; and Foley Wines gained 4c or 2.44 per cent to $1.68. Fellow wine exporter Delgat Group was down 15c to $14.40.
AFT Pharmaceuticals rose 20c or 4.55 per cent to $4.60 after gaining US Food and Drug Administration approval for an intravenous form of its Maxigesic pain relief medicine.
Transtasman chemicals business DGL Group gained 3c to $3.13 after completing the purchase of Profill Industries and AUSBlue for a total payment of $9.85m, plus 4.54m shares to AUSBlue.
Freightways was down 12c to $14.32; Ebos Group decreased 27c to $35.98; Chorus declined 10c to $6.32; Infratil shed 17c or 2.05 per cent to $8.11; Port of Tauranga fell 10c to $6.8; Sky Network Television lost 4c or 2.09 per cent to $1.87; and Vista Group was down 4c to $2.50.
Retailers Briscoe decreased 4c to $6.95, and Hallenstein Glasson declined 10c to $6.99. Retirement village operators Ryman Healthcare was down 14c to $14.30, and Summerset Group Holdings dropped 10c to $14.25.
David Hazlehurst, the chief financial officer, has been appointed interim chief executive from December 1 while Livestock Improvement Corporation continues its search for a permanent replacement for Wayne McNee. LIC's share price was unchanged at $1.22.