New Zealand shares fell, led by Tegel Group, after government figures showed chicken prices may be suffering from rivalry among suppliers. Restaurant Brands and SkyCity Entertainment Group were among leading decliners as ongoing geopolitical tensions and the looming US earnings season sapped investors' risk appetite.
The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 21.74 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 7,229.80. Within the index, 31 stocks fell, 15 rose and four were unchanged. Turnover was $131 million.
Tegel dropped 2.5 per cent to $1.16 after government food price data for March showed chicken prices fell 6.5 per cent for the year, extending a trend of annual declines since June 2015. Chicken has become more investible in Australia and New Zealand, with Inghams Group listed on the ASX, but the two companies are also battling for market share.
"There's lots of competitive tension between Tegel and Inghams," said Peter McIntyre, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "There's a bit of a price war going on" and the poultry price figures had also weighed on the stock. Craigs expects Tegel to post full-year profit at the lower end of its $33m to $41m guidance.
Also weighing on the New Zealand bourse, stocks fell on Wall Street, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively overnight ahead of the latest US results season which starts on Thursday.
"Investors are looking for defensive assets that still provide an income stream but there's no real conviction," McIntyre said. "People are waiting to see how the US reporting season pans out, how Trump pans out. People with cash are happy to sit on their hands."
Property for Industry declined 2.1 per cent to $1.63 and Port of Tauranga fell 1.9 per cent to $4.05. SkyCity dropped 1.6 per cent to $4.45 and Restaurant Brands fell 1.5 per cent to $5.39.
Sky Network Television fell 0.8 per cent after the Commerce Commission today published its reasons for declining a proposed merger with Vodafone New Zealand in February, reaffirming the view that the pay-TV operator's grip on premium sports and saying that coincided with the government's ultra-fast broadband programme which put more customers in play. Sky is considering whether to appeal the decision. Spark New Zealand, which opposed the merger, fell 0.6 per cent to $3.575, while network operator Chorus dropped 1.4 per cent to $4.22.
NZX rose 1 per cent to $1.06 after Oceania Healthcare's initial public offering price was at near the bottom of the range in a bookbuild at 79 cents. The aged-care group plans to raise $200m in the first IPO of the year. Metlifecare declined 0.4 per cent to $5.76, Ryman Healthcare slipped 0.5 per cent to $5.65 and Summerset Group fell 0.6 per cent to $5.33. Arvida Group bucked the trend, rising 0.8 per cent to $1.28.
Trustpower rose 1.1 per cent to $4.68 after the utilities company said annual earnings were at the higher end of guidance after strong generation, especially in Australia. Controlling shareholder Infratil gained 0.9 per cent to $2.945, while recently demerged wind energy company Tilt Renewables was unchanged at $2.15.
NPT rose 1.7 percent to 60 cents and Kiwi Property Group was unchanged at $1.43 after the New Zealand Shareholders' Association said it would be voting its proxies in favour of a deal between the two companies at next week's special meeting. NPT's biggest shareholder Augusta Capital is seeking to oust NPT's board at the meeting after a rival bid was turned down. Augusta's shares fell 1 per cent to 99 cents.
Seeka fell 5.6 per cent amid reports the kiwifruit harvest was delayed as Cyclone Cook bears down on orchards already beset with flooding from ex-Cyclone Debbie.
NZAX-listed Cooks Food Group was unchanged at 7 cents after saying it was looking at a joint venture in China that could help it generate positive cash flow in the 2018 financial year.
Marsden Maritime Holdings fell 2.3 per cent to $4.20 after the part-owner of Northport said it agreed to buy a 55-hectare plot of farmland next to Marsden Point for $4.3m, funded by the sale of a slightly smaller piece of land for an expected $4m.