New Zealand shares fell in a global selloff yesterday driven by concerns Chinese economic growth is slowing. Orion Health Group, Westpac Banking Corp and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group declined.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 42.45 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 5654.34. Within the index, 35 stocks fell, eight rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $123 million.
Markets across Asia slid after Chinese manufacturing data fell to the lowest level in 6.5 years. There is concern growth in China, the world's second-largest economy, is faltering, which may have wider implications for global growth.
Last week, the Federal Reserve kept US interest rates near zero, saying "recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term".
Dual-listed stocks fell. Orion, the healthcare management software firm, fell 4.4 per cent to $3.44. Westpac declined 3.4 per cent to $33.67. ANZ dropped 3.1 per cent to $30.30. Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator, slid 2.3 per cent to $7.21. Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, declined 2.2 per cent to $14.15.
"People are still focusing on China -- markets took a turn for the worse after the manufacturing PMI came out," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.
Adding to the weakness, several companies shed rights to their dividends. Spark New Zealand, the telecommunications company, led the benchmark index lower, dropping 4.6 per cent, or 15c, to $3.09 as it went ex-dividend for its final 11c-per-share dividend. Fletcher Building, the building and construction firm, declined 2.5 per cent, or 18c, to $7.04, as it gave up rights to its final 19c-a-share dividend.
Outside the benchmark index, Delegat Group, the winemaker, fell 1.9 per cent, or 10c, to $5.20 as it went ex-dividend for its 11c-a-share final dividend. Hellaby Holdings, the diversified investor, declined 4.1 per cent, or 13c, to $3.08 as it shed rights to its 12.5c-a-share final dividend. Michael Hill International, the jeweller, was unchanged at 91c after giving up rights to its 2.5c-a-share final dividend. Z Energy, the service station chain, was the best performer on the benchmark index, advancing 2.9 per cent to $6.31.
It said it expects greater benefits than previously forecast from its proposed acquisition of Chevron New Zealand's service stations and says it is running on schedule to integrate the business if it gets approval from the antitrust regulator. Separately, Z affirmed its annual guidance.
DNZ Property Fund, which is rebranding as Stride Property, was unchanged at $2.075. It has entered into a deal to buy a supermarket property portfolio for $287 million, and will help fund the acquisition by raising up to $129 million of new capital.
Restaurant Brands, the fast food chain operator, rose 1.3 per cent to $3.83. It boosted first-half sales 13 per cent to $210 million on an increase in sales of fried chicken at KFC and more Carl's Jr stores.
Sky Network Television fell 2.1 per cent to $4.76.
Outside the benchmark index, Trilogy International rose 8.6 per cent to $1.65. The skincare products and scented candle maker said its debt would reach $39 million in the first half ending this month, following the $37 million acquisition of fragrance and cosmetic distributor CS Company.