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NZ shares drop

Published: 6:13PM Friday May 03, 2013 Source: BusinessDesk

  • Stock market pricing display. (Source: Photos.com)
    Stock market pricing display. - Source: Photos.com

New Zealand shares fell as Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50 Index by market value, left some investors at a Macquarie briefing in Sydney with the impression earnings would be at the low end of guidance.

The NZX 50 fell 30.14 points, or 0.7%, to 4544.32. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 19 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover of $139 million was boosted by the 6.1 million Fletcher shares that changed hands.

Shares also fell as the MightyRiverPower retail offer closed. NZX chief executive Tim Bennett said the MRP float was "critical for the development of New Zealand's financial market It'll bring in the next generation of retail investors."

Fletcher, the building products and construction group, fell 6.5 percent to $8.03. Macquarie hosted a series of New Zealand companies in Sydney this week.

Fletcher kept its guidance unchanged “but those attending did think it would be towards the lower end of that range,” said Matt Goodson, portfolio manager at BT Funds Management.

Xero resumed its climb, rising 5.6% to $13.20 and valuing the cloud-based accounting company at about $1.5 billion. It is yet to make a profit as it chases sales growth.

Chief executive Rod Drury said profits would emerge if the company let up on its sales push but growing sales was ultimately the way for the company to get global scale and profits would follow.

Diligent Board Member Services climbed 2.1% to $6.95.

Electricity generators and retailers Contact Energy gained 0.2% to $5.28 and TrustPower rose 0.7% to $7.55, after the offer for rival MRP closed today.

Dual-listed Westpac Banking Group fell 1.3 percent to $40.40 after the group lifted cash earnings 10% to A$3.53 billion on a 4% gain in revenue to A$9.17 billion and declared an interim dividend of 86 Australian cents a share and a special dividend of 10 cents. The New Zealand unit boosted cash earnings 7% to $370 million.

Telecom gained 2.1% to $2.62.

Ryman Healthcare fell 0.6% from a record high to $6.22. Rival Summerset Group, up 43% this year, rose 0.3% to $3.21 and Metlifecare rose 0.6% to $3.64.

“The retirement sector has turbo-charged leverage to house prices,” Goodson said.

NZX, the stock market operator, fell 0.8% to $1.33. Sales in the first quarter rose 4.3% to $14.3 million, led by gains in securities clearing and market operations, up 23% to $1 million and 26% to $3.05 million respectively, the company said today.

Briscoe Group fell 0.8% to $2.51. The retailer said today that first-quarter sales rose 5.9%, helping offset weaker gross margins caused by increasing competition among retailers and a late start to winter.

Sales rose to $108.6 million in the three months ended April 28, the Auckland-based company said in a statement, with a 5.5% lift in homeware and a 6.6% gain in sports goods.

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