New Zealand shares fell, rounding out a weekly slide of 2.5% on the NZX 50 Index, after earnings downgrades by companies tied to the building sector. Tapware maker Methven sank to a 2 �-year low.
The NZX 50 fell 4.203, or 0.1%, to 3302.472, the lowest close since September 27. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 14 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $74 million.
Fletcher Building, carpet maker Cavalier and Methven all reported either weaker earnings or sales this week, citing the slack state of residential building activity in New Zealand and Australia. Delays in rebuilding Christchurch following further small quakes has also weighed on the businesses, they said.
Methven fell 4% to $1.17, adding to yesterday's 9.6% tumble, when the manufacturer said profit in the six months ended September 30 fell about 25%.
Cavalier gained 0.7% to $2.72 having touched a 13-month low this week after saying first-quarter carpet sales tumbled. Fletcher rose 0.5% to $6.70 today, having sunk as low as $6.65 yesterday, the lowest since July 2009.
The market decline "is a continuation of a relatively disappointing week from an earnings downgrade point of view," said Grant Williamson, a director at Christchurch-based brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene.
Investors may have over-reacted with Fletcher, given its medium-to-longer-term outlook and its prospects of being a major beneficiary of the Christchurch rebuild, Williamson said.
Comvita soared 21% to $2.55, the highest close since May last year, after Singapore-listed Cerebos Pacific said it planned to offer $2.50 a share, or about $71 million for the health supplements company to target growth in Asia.
"It just shows the pencil is probably going to have to be sharpened somewhat," Williamson said.
"You would hope the first offer isn't the top offer."
Turners Auctions rose 2.2% to $1.38 after the vehicle auctioneer said it expects annual net profit for calendar 2011 will rise between 13.3% and 20%.
"Whilst the used vehicle market remains subdued, with reduced availability of imports from Japan, the performance of our commercial and trucks businesses has exceeded expectations," Turners told the NZX.
Salvus Strategic Investments was unchanged at 72 cents after its manager, Salvus Asset Management, challenged a proposal to dump it as manager of listed investment company in favour of Milford Asset Management.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which gets more than 50% of its sales of breathing masks and respirators in US dollars, fell 2.8% to $2.47.
The kiwi dollar rebounded through this week, heading back towards 80 US cents.