New Zealand stocks fell as some investors opted to take profits on such stocks as A2 Milk and as sentiment was weighed on by a slide in global markets, although both Xero and Z Energy continued to push higher after posting positive results yesterday.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index lost 37.33 points, or 0.5 per cent, to close today at 7452.38. Within the index, 26 stocks fell, five were unchanged and 19 rose. Turnover was $131 million.

"The market overall is weaker here and in Australia, following offshore leads," said Suzanne Kinnaird, an investment adviser for Forsyth Barr.

US stocks fell overnight after several large department stores reported worse-than-expected sales drops. Against that backdrop, Asian stocks struggled to gain much traction.


A2 Milk led the index lower, shedding 6.8 per cent to $3.54, largely on some profit taking.

"It's had such a strong run of late," said Kinnaird.

A2 Milk's stock is up more than 60 per cent so far this year as investors are cheered about its prospects in China.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare shed 2.5 per cent to $10.25, also likely on some profit taking as the exporter has gained in recent sessions on the back of the weaker New Zealand dollar, she said.

Fletcher Building lost 2.9 per cent to $8.33. Sentiment may have been weighed by data that shows the housing market may be coming off the boil in Auckland.

Vital Healthcare ended down 2 per cent at $2.23, also possibly on some profit-taking after the stock got a solid lift on Thursday on news it had entered into a conditional agreement with Acurity Health Group to become its long-term real estate capital partner.

In the other direction, Xero added 0.9 per cent to $23.20 as investors remained upbeat after the company said yesterday its net loss was $69.1m, narrower than the $82.5m reported in the prior period. Z Energy also continued to benefit, adding 0.1 per cent to $7.90.

Warehouse Group added 2.4 per cent to $2.17. The company today posted a slower rate of sales growth in the third quarter, but affirmed it's on track to meet its forecast annual profit.


TeamTalk added 7 per cent to $0.76 after investors were cheered by news it expects to have more cash on hand after reaching two deals to slim down and put off major capital spending on its CityLink fibre network.

Ryman Healthcare added 1.4 per cent to $8.59 on news its new Devonport village is set to proceed.

Rakon added 4.8 per cent to 22c.