MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; Westpac, Fletcher slip

Nov. 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell, joining a global selloff on concerns about the US fiscal cliff and Europe’s stuttering economy. Fletcher Building and Telecom paced the decline; Westpac Banking Corp shed its dividend while boutique brewer Moa advanced in its listing debut.

The NZX 50 Index fell 13.441 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3970.55. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 15 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $85.8 million.

Share markets were weaker across the region, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index down 0.3 percent in early trading and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng falling about 1 percent. New Zealand stocks are retreating from their highest levels in almost five years, where they’ve been underpinned by high dividend yields.

“Certain parts of the market looking a bit stretched,” said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. “The property sector, the retail sector are running above where we think the value is. But really they’re being driven by yield.”

European concerns and America’s fiscal cliff have prompted some people “to take money off the market,” he said.

Fletcher Building, the biggest construction and building products group on the NZX 50, fell 0.9 percent to $7.41. Telecom declined 1.6 percent to $2.395.

Westpac dropped 4.8 percent to $31.79 after shedding its 84 cents a share final dividend.

Moa ended the day at $1.29, having sold in a $16 million initial public offering at $1.25. Moa needs the money to build a new $6.1 million brewing facility and cover the $1.6 million cost of the float.

Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment retailer, rose 4.8 percent to $1.75, having shed about a third of its value in the past year. Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, climbed about 1 percent to a new record close $6.36 as it continued to benefit from the extra exposure from listing on the ASX last week.

Trade Me Group, the auction website, gained 1.2 percent to $4.19.

Mainfreight, the global transport and logistics company, pared an earlier decline to finish the day unchanged at $10.40. First-half profit fell 4.6 percent as an earnings slump in Europe offset gains in all of its other markets.

“We maintain our confidence in the long-term benefits of our European acquisition although we are disappointed with the financial performance over the last six months,” managing director Don Braid said in a statement.

Infratil rose 0.2 percent to $2.18. The investment firm reported a first-half net loss of $16.5 million after taking a previously flagged charge against the value of its UK airports. It lifted its dividend by 8.3 percent.

Goodman Property Trust was unchanged at $1.06 after saying it wants to raise $80 million in new equity from institutional and retail shareholders to buy the 50 percent it doesn’t already own of the Auckland business park, Highbrook, in a $186.6 million transaction involving cash, trust units and deferred payment elements.

(BusinessDesk)

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