New Zealand shares fell, led lower by Spark New Zealand and Scales Corp, while Orion Health Group rose from its record low.
The S&P/NZX 50 index dipped 22.71 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6893.3. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 22 rose and five were unchanged. Turnover was $155.8 million.
"The local market has underperformed somewhat, bucking the trend of offshore markets," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "It looks a bit tired for the end of the week; a bit of profit-taking in place. Possibly the political scene does create a little more uncertainty for next year as we head into another general election but there's a lot of water to go under the bridge yet."
The best performer on the index was Orion Health, which gained 13.3 per cent to $1.96, after hitting a record low of $1.65 on Wednesday.
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"It's a major reversal. It had a key reversal day on Thursday, which means when it makes a new all-time low and then closes above the previous day's close, it's a sure sign it is going to make a pretty big short-term bounce, and that's exactly what we've seen," Williamson said. "We did see a pretty large cross go through the market on Thursday as well, which I think reduced the selling quantity and there was one main seller in the market that was pushing that stock down for 13, 14 days in a row so Thursday was certainly a turning point. It'll be interesting to see what the stock does from these levels. It's down 46 for the year, following on from last year when it was down 45 per cent, so it's been a bit of a shocker really."
Spark New Zealand was the worst performer, down 2.8 per cent to $3.435, while Scales Corp dropped 2.7 per cent to $3.29 and Vista Group International fell 2.4 per cent to $5.80.
Tower gained 3.7 per cent to 84c and Kathmandu Holdings advanced 1.6 per cent to $1.93.
Fletcher Building rose 1.7 per cent to $10.73, and has gained 4.6 per cent this week and 43.5 per cent this year.
"From an investor point of view, it's sitting in a pretty sweet spot at the moment," Williamson said.
Sky Network Television was unchanged at $4.80. "There's a new bill in front of Parliament regarding major sporting events being given free-to-air access, which would probably have a pretty serious effect on Sky TV, if that was to go through," Williamson said. "That doesn't get voted on until early in the new year, but I think investors will be keeping a pretty close eye on what happens."
Outside the benchmark index, BurgerFuel Worldwide was unchanged at $1.49. The fast-food retailer narrowed its first-half loss to $115,328 and says it wants to buy more stores and is still looking to expand into the US, although its agreements with investor Franchise Brands have ended. The company has 51 stores operating in New Zealand where it's the third largest burger concept in the market. BusinessDesk