New Zealand shares fell, dragged down by dual-listed Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group and softer prices for several leading New Zealand stocks.

The S&P/NZX 50 dropped 44.4 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 6708.02, Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 22 rose and four were unchanged.

Turnover was $189.5 million.

The local market faltered after capping off the first quarter on Thursday with a 6.8 per cent gain for the year so far. The market has rallied after the Reserve Bank's surprise interest rate cut in March but was one of many indices to fall yesterday across Asia.


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"It's probably not a surprise after the good run up to the end of the quarter," said Robert Garden, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "The ... hunt for yield is always intense when money's needing to find a home."

Warehouse Group gave up rights to an 11c interim dividend yesterday, closing at $2.80.

Fletcher Building fell 3.4 per cent to $7.62 and Spark New Zealand dropped 2.5 per cent to $3.56.

Dual-listed banks continued the fall which began last Thursday when Australia & New Zealand Banking Group said it would increase its provisions for bad debt by at least A$100 million ($111 million) on top of the A$800 million it had already anticipated for the first half of 2016. The same day, Westpac Banking Group's Australian chief executive warned the first-half bad debt charge in that division would increase 10 per cent.

ANZ shed 2.3 per cent to $25.30 and Westpac lost 2.1 per cent to $32.80.

Mighty River Power lost 2.1 per cent to $2.86, Auckland International Airport declined 1.7 per cent to $6.32 and Argosy Property shed 1.3 per cent to $1.17.

Skellerup Holdings gained most, rising 3.9 per cent to $1.33, having fallen 15.2 per cent this year.

Goodman Property Trust gained 1.5 per cent to $1.34, Z Energy rose 1.5 per cent to $6.85 and Metro Performance Glass was up 1.2 per cent to $1.70.

Outside the main index, Kirkcaldie & Stains dipped 0.3 per cent to $3.10, and Pushpay gained 0.9 per cent to $2.30.

Tegel Group Holdings said it wants to raise as much as $344.4 million in New Zealand's first initial public offering of the year for the NZX main board, by selling between 137.5 million and 192.4 million shares at $1.50-to-$2.50 apiece.