New Zealand shares pulled back slightly as geopolitical tensions kept some investors on the sidelines while others looked to re-allocate some assets at the start of the new financial year.

The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 4.9 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,238.870. Within the index, 23 stocks gained, 17 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $116 million.

Markets across Asia were mixed with investors jittery after the US fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian air base on Friday and after a US official told Reuters on Saturday that a US Navy strike group will be moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force, in the face of growing concerns about North Korea's advancing weapons programme.

Overall, the market is in "a bit of a holding pattern," said Nigel Scott, director at Craigs Investment Partners. He said there is some asset re-allocation as the new financial year gets underway and as investors continue to hunt for yield.


Outdoor clothing retailer Kathmandu Holdings took the biggest tumble on the day, falling 2.6 per cent to $1.90, followed by Meridian Energy, which shed 1.9 per cent to $2.84.

Metlifecare fell 0.2 per cent to $5.79, with retirement village operator's cornerstone shareholder Infratil selling its 19 per cent stake last week. Infratil shares slipped 0.3 per cent to $2.99.

Investors will be eyeing up the first initial public offering of the year with aged-care group Oceania Healthcare's planned $200m capital raise to cut debt and potentially buy new development sites. Oceania, owned by funds managed by Macquarie Group, will list on the NZX and ASX, and will set an offer price in a bookbuild on April 11 and 12. It's expected to start trading on the NZX and ASX on May 5, it said.

Rival retirement village operators Summerset Group rose 0.4 per cent to $5.40 and Ryman Healthcare gained 0.4 per cent to $8.69.

Outside the benchmark index, jewellery retailer Michael Hill International shed 3.3 per cent to $1.45. While the company's newly opened stores in Australia and Canada helped drive a 5.5 per cent increase in sales in the first nine months of its financial year, investors were disappointed by news that same-store revenue remained tepid as trading in New Zealand and the US continued to be tough.

In the other direction, manuka honey company Comvita rose 2.3 per cent to $7.13 on some bargain hunting after the stock fell sharply on a recent downgrade. Air New Zealand added 1.8 per cent to $2.46 while Metro Performance Glass increased 0.8 per cent to $1.35.

Looking ahead, Scott said several corporates are "doing the rounds" with investors presentations and people will be looking to see if they back up their results and commentary. He also noted that New Zealand is moving into several holiday-shortened weeks, which can impact liquidity.