Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare couldn't get back on its perch, falling another 4 per cent as the New Zealand sharemarket closed the week flat on moderate trading.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped 17.53 points or 0.14 per cent to 12,631.38 after reaching an intraday high of 12,707.27. There were 51.5 million shares worth $167.37 million changing hands, with 88 gainers and 54 decliners over the whole market.
"All the company results are behind us and there's not any real economic data coming through and I think traders are sitting back waiting for the Christmas parties to ramp up," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research with Craigs Investment Partners.
The rising NZ dollar, hitting a two-year high against the American greenback, has slowed export-oriented companies, particularly those with dominant business in the United States such as Fisher and Paykel, and Pushpay Holdings. The NZ dollar traded between US70.53c and 70.82c during the day.
Fisher and Paykel slumped $1.34 or 3.98 per cent to $32.33, having fallen by 7.29 per cent over the past two days. Its latest trading of 4867 shares worth $37.6m made up a fifth of the market's value for the day.
Lister said the strong currency was taking a little bit of wind out of Fisher and Paykel's sails but the stock has had a stunning run this year. "They are well positioned and in the right space and you can't begrudge them taking a breather."
Lister wouldn't be surprised if the NZ dollar pushed higher. "This is a drag on exporters, and in terms of market sentiment it does impact on them. They will have hedging [on the dollar movements] but that doesn't last long and they will have to reset at less attractive rates."
The a2 Milk Company had a revival, rising 48c or 3.98 per cent to $14.18 on trade worth $13.7m; and Mainfreight was up $1.50c to $62. Without Fisher and Paykel's latest slump, these other leading stocks would have led the market to a healthy gain.
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Freightways was up 19c or 2 per cent to a new high of $9.69; Synlait Milk rose 12c or 2.31 per cent to $5.31; Ebos Group increased 12c to $25; Fletcher Building gained 7c to $5.84; and Restaurant Brands picked up 11c to $12.11.
Meridian lost 9c to $6.50; Chorus was down 5.5c to $8.11; Pushpay slipped 4c or 2.19 per cent to $1.79; Ryman Healthcare declined 9c to $14.60; and Hallenstein Glasson decreased 11c to $6.85.
Vista Group announced it has bought the remaining 50 per cent of Cinema Intelligence from the founder and chief executive Claudiu Tanasescu, and its share price rose 5c or 2.87 per cent to $1.79.
Dunedin-based automation solutions company Scott Technology has been busy, securing a multimillion-dollar material handling and logistics contract with the world's largest frozen food manufacturer McCain, and signing a global partnership with Savoye, one of the world's leading high-speed storage and retrieval system organisations. Scott's share price climbed 5c or 2.86 per cent to $1.80.
Tourism Holdings increased 6c or 2.33 per4 cent to $2.63 after announcing it is part of a "Work from Anywhere" campaign with Vodafone and Tourism New Zealand and it has slashed motorhome rates by up to 40 per cent to boost demand during the summer. The travel package for long-term rentals includes discounts for campgrounds, tourist attractions and optional unlimited data.
Insurance firm Tower has made an arrangement to take over the policyholders of Australian-based pleasure boat insurer Club Marine, which is quitting New Zealand. Tower has the opportunity of adding 15,000 customers and $8m in gross written premiums. Tower's share price rose 2.5c or 3.88 per cent to 67c.