New Zealand shares fell for a sixth session as rising US bond yields dented investors' appetite for stocks. Synlait Milk led the market lower, dropping to a five-month low.
The S&P/NZX 50 index declined 42.31 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 9,214.87. Within the index, 30 stocks fell, 13 gained and seven were unchanged. Turnover was a quieter than usual $79.1 million.
Stocks across Asia were largely weaker, following Wall Street's lead, after the yield on US 10-year Treasuries rose to a seven-year high. Investors expect strong US economic data will prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates more aggressively, making fixed-income assets more attractive.
Peter McIntyre, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners, said markets have already priced in three interest rate increases in the US for 2019 and stock markets will remain under pressure for some time.
"The interest rate theme is not going to go away," he said.
Rate-sensitive stocks fell. Genesis Energy dropped 3.2 per cent to $2.42, Investore Property declined 2.6 per cent to 1.53, Property For Industry declined 1.4 per cent to $1.75, and Mercury NZ was down 1.1 per cent at $3.305.
McIntyre said tech stocks were hardest hit on Wall Street with the Nasdaq down 1.9 per cent compared to the Dow Jones Industrial Average's 0.8 per cent decline. New Zealand has a relatively small exposure to tech stocks. Pushpay Holdings fell 1.5 per cent to $4.04 and Gentrack Group slid 1 per cent to $7.14.
Synlait led the market lower, falling 5.7 per cent to $10, its lowest close since May 1. The stock has lost 25 per cent over the past month as investors cash in gains after a prolonged rally.
McIntyre said the company is a high-quality business with strong growth ambitions, but brokers have questioned the valuation. Synlait's price-to-earnings ratio is 25.48 times compared to an average forward ratio of 20.57 times on the NZX50.
A2 Milk Co fell 1 per cent to $10.59, its fifth straight decline. A2's market capitalisation has dropped to $7.9 billion, making it the fourth biggest local company on the NZX behind Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Auckland International Airport and Meridian Energy. F&P Health fell 0.8 per cent to $15, Auckland Airport rose 1 per cent to $7.25, and Meridian slipped 0.3 per cent to $3.23.
Spark New Zealand comes in below A2 with a market cap of $7.42b. It decreased 0.3 per cent today to $4.01. Chorus, which was demerged from Telecom seven years ago, rose 0.4 per cent to $4.85 and has a market value of $2.09b.
Air New Zealand fell 1.7 per cent to $2.955. The national carrier had a strategic partnership with Singapore Airlines reauthorised today.
Summerset Group declined 0.8 per cent to $7.58 after buying an 8-hectare site in Papamoa Beach for a $150mn-plus village. The development is Summerset's first in Tauranga and is expected to be built in 2020.
Comvita rose 2.2 per cent to $6.05, posting the biggest gain on the day.
Outside the benchmark index, Eroad declined 0.9 per cent to $3.28 after reporting faster sales growth in the second quarter and signalling a robust pipeline for the rest of the financial year.
NZ Windfarms gained 2.3 per cent to 13.4 cents after appointing First NZ Capital to help sell its Te Rere Hau wind farm.