New Zealand shares fell, pushing the S&P/NZX 50 Index down from a record high, as SkyCity Entertainment Group posted full-year profit growth that missed some analyst forecasts, underlining the high expectations built into the earnings season this year.

The NZX 50 fell 13.55 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7349.61, having gained more than 16 per cent this year. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 20 rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $167 million.

SkyCity dropped 3.5 per cent to $4.96 after reporting a 13 per cent gain in full-year profit to about $146 million as sales rose 9.1 per cent to $1.1 billion. First NZ Capital had expected profit before one-time items of $156m.

"This could be a little bit of a theme for the reporting season, where companies are not going to match the high expectations set," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "The market has possibly run a little bit too hard."


Air New Zealand, which is scheduled to report full-year results on August 26, declined about 2 per cent to $2.225. First NZ Capital is forecasting a 75 per cent surge in profit.

Sky TV, which reports annual results on August 28, fell 1.8 per cent to $4.89. The nation's largest pay-TV operator said annual sales were $927m and underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were $336m as part of a presentation on its planned merger with Vodafone NZ announced in June.

NZX, the market operator, fell 1.9 per cent to $1.02 and Freightways, the courier and document handling company, fell 1.6 per cent to $6.66.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, whose shares dropped on Tuesday when the clothing chain said full-year sales were close to the previous year's result and profit fell 22 per cent to about $13.5m, rebounded yesterday, rising 4.5 per cent to $2.80.

Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing chain, continued its rally, rising 2 per cent to $2. Last week, the retailer said its annual profit rose as much as 67 per cent on fatter margins.

Summerset Group, the retirement village operator that reports on Monday, rose 2.6 per cent to $4.82 and was the biggest gainer on the index.

Chorus rose 1.7 per cent to $4.50, Heartland Bank gained 1.5 per cent to $1.40 and Trade Me Group rose 1.4 per cent to $4.99.

Outside the index, TeamTalk fell 2 per cent to 48c. TeamTalk said yesterday it had hired investment bank Cameron Partners for a strategic review of the telecommunications company just three weeks after appointing a new chief executive.