S&P/NZX 50 drops amid lower oil prices, decline at the latest dairy auction and falls in overseas markets.

New Zealand shares fell as weaker commodity prices weighed on equities in countries dependent on exports of raw materials. Synlait Milk, A2 Milk, Kathmandu and Air New Zealand declined, while Precinct Properties rose.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 46.71 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 6133.38. Within the index, 34 stocks fell, nine rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $161 million.

Overnight to yesterday, Brent crude oil fell about 3 per cent while in the GlobalDairyTrade auction, whole milk powder fell more than 10 per cent. Stocks were weaker on Wall St and the selloff carried into markets across Asia.

A2 Milk declined 3.4 per cent to $1.72 and Synlait Milk fell 1.7 per cent to $2.82. NZ Refining fell 2.1 per cent to $3.67.


"Some of the commodities have been pretty weak -- oil has seen lower prices, the latest dairy auction wasn't impressive at all, and that combined with weaker offshore markets has led the New Zealand bourse down," said James Lindsay at Nikko Asset Management. "New Zealand, Canada and Australia are seen as commodity-exposed economies, so any time there's any significant weakness in commodities it leads to our markets underperforming."

Kathmandu led the index lower, dropping 4.9 per cent to $1.55. The shares jumped 7.2 per cent to $1.63 on Monday after the company lifted first half sales, but have given up some of those gains.

Air New Zealand fell 4.4 per cent to $2.81 -- a two-month low.

"Oil is a major input into their operations and will be helping out significantly with the price of that coming down, but the counter to that is there's been a significant amount of new capacity come on from airlines in competing routes," Nikko's Lindsay said.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund was unchanged at $5.95. Further declines in dairy prices at the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction is casting doubt over Fonterra's ability to meet its newly revised farmgate milk price for farmers and prompting concern that next season's price may also be weak. That weakness is probably not hurting the fund, and maybe mildly helping it, Lindsay said.

Orion Health Group shed 3.5 per cent to $3.04. Westpac Banking Corp fell 3.2 per cent to $31.78, and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group dropped 3.2 per cent to $25.75.

Metlifecare lost 2.7 per cent to $4.35, Summerset Group was down 2.4 per cent to $4, and Mighty River Power closed 2.3 per cent lower at $2.54. Precinct Properties was the biggest gainer, up 1.6 per cent to $1.245. Skellerup Holdings gained 1.4 per cent to $1.45, and Chorus advanced 1.3 per cent to $3.835.

Outside the benchmark, Briscoe Group rose 3.2 per cent to $2.95, The retailer expects to report a record full-year profit of $46.5 million, up from 2015's $39.3 million.

Wynyard Group dropped 4.4 per cent to $1.54 -- a near three-month low.

The company's shareholders will vote on granting the board more freedom to issue shares in two weeks, after a downturn in global markets took the sheen off its existing plans to raise capital.