New Zealand shares fell for a fourth day as A2 Milk Co remains out of favour after recent selling by its chief executive and a director. Genesis Energy and Auckland International Airport also declined after shedding rights to dividend payments.
The S&P/NZX 50 index slipped 36.77 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 9,257.18. Within the index, 22 stocks fell, 20 gained and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $132.1 million.
A2 Milk led the market lower for a second day, falling 3.4 per cent to $10.70, the lowest close in almost two months. The milk marketing firm has been out of favour with investors since new chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka disclosed a share sale, which was followed soon after by director Peter Hinton trimming his holding.
"People are always going to watch this stock like that very, very closely given how strong the run has been," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.
The stock, up 30 per cent this year, has fallen almost 9 per cent since Hrdlicka's sale was disclosed on September 21, the same day A2 joined the FTSE Russell All World Index.
Genesis Energy declined 3.3 per cent, or 8.5 cents, to $2.50 after shedding rights to an 8.6 cents per share dividend. Auckland Airport was down 1.9 per cent, or 14 cents, to $7.18, giving up rights to an 11 cent dividend payment. Outside the NZX50, Colonial Motor Co fell 4.3 per cent, or 38 cents, to $8.52, shedding rights to a 35 cent dividend.
Summerset Group fell 1.4 per cent to $7.64 after reporting a decline in third-quarter sales. The retirement village operator expects sales to recover in the fourth quarter as new units come on stream.
Rival retirement village operators were also down. Ryman Healthcare slipped 0.3 per cent to $13.48, Arvida Group fell 0.7 per cent to $1.34 and Metlifecare was down 0.5 per cent to $6.46.
Interest rate sensitive stocks were weaker after stronger than expected US data pushed US government bond yields to a seven-year high. Mercury NZ fell 0.9 per cent to $3.34, Contact Energy declined 0.5 per cent to $5.88, Kiwi Property Group slipped 0.4 per cent to $1.39 and Meridian Energy decreased 0.3 per cent to $3.24.
That rise in US interest rates stoked demand for the greenback, pushing the kiwi dollar to a 30-month low. The weaker currency benefits exporters by making their products cheaper on the international market.
Pushpay Holdings, which derives most of its revenue from North America's faith sector, rose 1.2 per cent to $4.10. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which generates half its income in US dollars, edged up 0.1 per cent to $15.12.
Fletcher Building gained 0.3 per cent to $6.50. First NZ Capital affirmed its 'underperform' rating on the stock, saying its bid for Steel & Tube Holdings was opportunistic but in line with its strategy. Steel & Tube rose 1.9 per cent to $1.59, still below Fletcher's $1.70 a share offer.
Investore Property posted the biggest gain, up 1.3 per cent to $1.57, on small volumes. Trade Me gained 1.2 per cent to $5.28.
NZX was unchanged at $1.08 after signing a new memorandum of understanding with the Shanghai Stock Exchange. NZX pushed back against shareholder complaints about the strategy it's pursuing, including its ownership of a funds management unit as a vehicle for earnings growth.
TIL Logistics was unchanged at $1.66. The transport company will expand its heavy haulage with a $19m cash and scrip acquisition, which is expected to immediately increase earnings.