New Zealand shares were mixed in subdued trading, with Sky Network Television leading the index lower on concerns about its rugby rights while Heartland Bank and Vista Group International gained.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 13.76 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,808.22. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 19 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $125 million.
Sky TV was the worst performer, down 6.8 per cent or 19 cents to $2.61. The shares fell to an intraday low of $2.58, their lowest level in more than 18 years, after reports that global internet giant Amazon is making a play for New Zealand's rugby broadcasting rights. Holders lost the rights to a 12.5 cents-per-share dividend today.
"Obviously it's ex-dividend so the actual decline is a little less than meets the eye, but there was press over the weekend on Amazon and their potential interest in NZ rugby rights," said Matt Goodson, managing director at Salt Funds Management. "Whether that's something that ultimately transpires and Sky loses the rights or it's just a peripheral interest which doesn't greatly affect the bidding intensity for those rights - the actual outcome no doubt will lie somewhere in between.
The upcoming general election and the Labor Day holiday in the US have kept the local market quiet today, he said. "The other thing is the North Korean uncertainty - it's had a little bit of an effect on markets in the Asia-Pac region, but there's no major panic."
Fletcher Building fell 1.4 per cent to $8.25 while CBL Corp dropped 1.3 per cent to $3.10 and Trustpower declined 1.1 per cent to $5.36.
Heartland Bank was the best performer, up 1.6 per cent to $1.94, while Vista rose 1.3 per cent to $5.39 and Ebos Group gained 0.8 per cent to $17.50.