New Zealand shares fell as a spate of new covid-19 cases in China spoiled investor sentiment across Asia. Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group led the market lower.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 41.82 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 10,864.12. Within the index, 32 stocks fell, 16 rose, and two were unchanged. Turnover was $198 million.
Sentiment across Asia took a hit after Beijing recorded a spate of new covid-19 cases in a major wholesale food market. Authorities have closed the centre and locked down nearby housing districts.
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Weaker than expected retail and industrial production data in China, and the fear of a resurgence of the virus, caused Asian markets to fall.
The ASX 200 Index dropped 2 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.6 per cent, Japan's Topix fell 1.9 per cent and Shanghai's SSE Composite was down 0.5 per cent.
Matthew Goodson, managing director at Salt Funds Management, said Wall Street was expected to fall tonight, which may weigh on the local market tomorrow.
"The bounce we've had is starting to fade a little bit given the weakness in US futures," Goodson said.
"More covid cases in China is unhelpful and hopes for a trans-Tasman bubble any time soon have been pushed back a little."
SkyCity led the market lower, dropping 4 per cent to $2.64. The company runs hotels that rely on international travellers and its casinos have historically benefited from wealthy customers visiting from Asia.
Other travel and transport companies were weaker. Tourism Holdings fell 3.5 per cent to $2.23, Air New Zealand declined 2.5 per cent to $1.58 and Auckland International Airport slipped 0.8 per cent to $6.43.
Utility software developer Gentrack sank 3.8 per cent to $1.54. Today, executive chairman John Clifford announced he would resign due to health issues.
On Friday, it was announced that Gentrack would be relegated out of the NZX 50 with Napier Port taking its place. Shares of Napier Port rose 4.8 per cent to $3.70, while Port of Tauranga rose 0.7 per cent to $7.21.
Financial services firm Heartland Group fell 3.8 per cent to $1.26. The dual-listed banks also declined, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group down 1.7 per cent to $19.85 and Westpac Banking Corp 1.1 per cent lower at $18.78.
Synlait Milk posted the day's biggest gain, up 4.2 per cent at $7.14, on a relatively light volume of 330,000 shares.
Vista Group International, which declined more than 10 per cent last week, rose 1.8 per cent to $1.69. Kathmandu Holdings advanced 3.6 per cent to $1.15.
Outside the NZX 50, Augusta Capital surged 31.4 per cent to 90 cents after ASX-listed Centuria Capital made another bid to acquire the property company, this time at $1 a share in cash and scrip.
Goodson said the initiative was promising despite the offer being half what it was before the pandemic.
"While it is not the $2 a share that was bid pre-covid, things have changed," Goodson said.