New Zealand shares fell for a second day as investors await earnings next week to gain a better sense of the economic outlook.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 56.51 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 10,731.55. Within the index, 16 stocks rose, 25 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $126.1 million.
The benchmark opened stronger building on momentum from Wall Street's overnight gains but fell away around midday when the Australian market weakened.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones indices both closed more than 1.5 per cent higher. At 5:30pm in Wellington, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 had recovered earlier lost ground and was up about 0.1 per cent.
Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said there was little buying support in the market, which trended down as the day went on.
"Investors are waiting for an update from many of these companies, so they are relatively cautious and just waiting to see what happens," he said.
Tranche of redundancies ahead
A number of companies, including Tilt Renewables, Kiwi Property Group, Trustpower and Mainfreight, are scheduled to report earnings next week.
A coming tranche of redundancies and fast-rising unemployed numbers expected when the 12-week wage subsidy ends in June could also place stress on some listed companies.
"We are going to have a fair bit of economic data in the near term that is not going to paint a nice picture," Williamson said.
Air New Zealand has said it would reduce its workforce by 3,500 roles and Fletcher Building yesterday announced it would cut 1,500 jobs when its wage subsidy expires on June 26.
Williamson said that, with mixed trading on the market today, several of the largest stocks were the ones pushing the index negative.
Fletcher Building fell 3.3 per cent to $3.19 as investors absorbed its projection for a 20 percent decline in New Zealand construction activity.
The index's biggest company, A2 Milk, fell 1.6 per cent to $19.17 and Spark New Zealand declined 2.8 per cent to $4.415.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the second-largest company by capitalisation, held at $30.00.
Tourism Holding led the market lower, falling 6.1 per cent to $1.37, followed closely by New Zealand Refining Company, which dropped 5.2 per cent to 73 cents.
Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units rose 0.8 per cent to $3.62.
Fonterra said it is on track to meet forecast earnings guidance of 15 cents to 25 cents a share for the year, despite market challenges related to covid-19.
The world's fifth-largest dairy company reported improved earnings figures for the third quarter today and said it should deliver on its target for gross margin to rise $244 million on last year to $2.5 billion.
CDC Data Centres, an Australian firm 48 per cent-owned by Infratil, announced plans to develop two centres in Auckland. Additional vacant land would allow for progressive development over time to meet demand from new and existing customers, Infratil said in a statement to the NZX.
Infratil shares fell 0.9 per cent to $4.57.
Williamson said Infratil had done "extremely well" from the data centre business and it was positive news that it was looking to replicate the operation in New Zealand.
"It's positive news but has done nothing to the share price," he said.
Sky Network Television today announced plans to raise $157 million through an underwritten and deeply discounted share offer to shore up its balance sheet while national and international sporting events are restricted, and to prepare a new broadband product.
The capital raising is priced at 12 cents a share, 63 per cent below yesterday's close of 33 cents. The stock has now been placed on a trading halt.
Retirement villages revive
Kiwi Property Group posted the day's biggest gain, rising 4.4 per cent to 94 cents.
Retirement village operators are beginning to rally as the risk of covid-19 outbreaks is diminishing.
"There were major concerns that if any of the listed companies had issues with the virus, then that would've damaged their reputation," Williamson said.
Oceania Healthcare rose 2.6 per cent to 79 cents, Arvida Group increased 1.5 per cent to $1.40 and Ryman Healthcare advanced 1.1 per cent to $12.60.
Metlifecare fell 0.2 per cent to $4.34 and Summerset Group Holding declined 0.3 per cent to $6.00.
Outside the NZX 50 index, Mercer Group rose 4.1 per cent to 25.5 cents.
The stainless steel and automation manufacturer secured more than $10 million of new orders during the past month and said it will report increased operating earnings and net profit for the June year.