Foreign ownership of the New Zealand sharemarket fell by just over two percentage points to 51.5 per cent in the June quarter, mostly due to profit-taking from Australian investors, brokers Forsyth Barr said.

Other internationals were also sellers over the quarter, the brokerage said in an analysis.

Signals for the current quarter were mixed with substantial shareholder notices for foreign investors muted, while exchange traded fund (ETF) inflows and outflows were largely balanced over the quarter to date, it said.

"On our estimates, as at the end of the June quarter, foreign investors now own approximately 51.5 per cent of the New Zealand equity market.


"This has fallen by 219 basis points from 53.7 per cent at the end of the March quarter," Forsyth Barr said.

Aussie investors appeared to be paring positions across the market more broadly, as opposed to focussed selling in the a2 Milk as had been seen previously.

In contrast, other international investors appeared to have increased positions in a2 Milk, while similarly also selling the rest of the broader market.

The June quarter included the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) semi-annual review and while no stocks were added or removed, the addition of China A-shares led to a down weight to New Zealand within the world index.

"This likely would have contributed to some of the outflow observed, albeit mainly focussed within large cap New Zealand equities," Forsyth Barr said.

The September quarter will include a similar FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange) Global indices rebalance, however, given the significantly lower aggregate amount of funds tracking the FTSE indices, the effect of this will likely be negligible, Forsyth Barr said.

"Signals for the September quarter substantial shareholder notices show a modest outflow by Australian investors offset by inflows from other international investors."

Overall net flows are minor in the scheme of things, with activity limited to a small segment of the market.


Taking the US listed MSCI NZ ETF as a proxy, signs of US investor interest in New Zealand equities appeared mixed.

"With oscillating monthly in and out flows largely offsetting one another, and units on issue in the ETF essentially unchanged," Forsyth Barr said.

Substantial shareholder notices for the September quarter to date indicated a lower level of foreign investor activity compared to the June quarter, with marginal outflows from Australian investors offset by inflows from international investors.

The majority of the international investor movement stemmed from US financial services company The Capital Group, expanding its position in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

"Outside of this, both Australian and other international investors adjusted positions on the margin, with activity limited to a small segment of the market," Forsyth Barr said.

-- Staff Reporter