MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall, led by Cavalier, Heartland

Nov. 5 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell as equity markets were generally weaker across Asia after a selloff on Wall Street on Friday. Cavalier and Heartland NZ led the decline.

The NZX 50 Index fell 5.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3908.26. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 17 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $87 million.

Cavalier fell 3.6 percent to $1.87 and Heartland, the building society with aspirations to be a bank, fell 2.9 percent to 67 cents.

Warehouse Group, the country’s biggest listed retailer, rose 0.6 percent to $3.14 after posting a 1.9 percent gain in first-quarter sales with its Blue Shed stationery stores leading growth as its Red Sheds reported a flat result.

Group sales rose to $377.3 million in the three months ended Oct. 28, from $370.4 million in the same period a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Sales at its Red Shed stores edged up 0.8 percent to $325.7 million and were flat on a same-store basis, while the stationery outlets’ revenue climbed 9.1 percent to $51.6 million.

Westpac Banking Corp, Australia’s second-biggest lender, rose about 1 percent to $31.85 after reporting full-year net profit that declined 15 percent to A$5.97 billion. That missed a Bloomberg survey of A$6.29 billion.

Acurity Health Group, the private hospital operator formerly known as Wakefield Health, was unchanged at $5.90 after it reported a 25 percent drop in first-half earnings as the cost of upgrading its Bowen Hospital site weighed on the bottom line. It expects annual profit will fall by as much as a quarter.

The group downgraded its flat annual earnings outlook, saying net profit is expected to be between 20 percent and 25 percent lower than a year earlier.

Fletcher Building rose 0.1 percent to $7 and Telecom dropped 1 percent to $2.395.

NZX, the stock exchange operator, was unchanged at $1.23. Growth in the value of trading on the NZX accelerated last month as the benchmark NZX 50 Index reached near five-year highs. The total value traded on the NZX rose 26 percent to $2.5 billion in October from the same month a year earlier, with a 26 percent rally in the value of equity transactions and a 12 percent gain in debt security trading, according the NZX’s monthly shareholder metrics report.

Auckland International Airport, the country’s main international gateway, rose 0.8 percent to $2.66 after saying it had promoted its general manager retail and commercial Adrian Littlewood as its new boss. Littlewood succeeds Simon Moutter, who left to take the top job at Telecom.

Port of Tauranga was unchanged at $12.90. Asciano, Australia’s largest national rail freight and ports operator, has exercised its right to acquire the 50 percent of the C3 marshalling and stevedoring business in New Zealand for $70 million from Port of Tauranga.

C3, formally known as Toll Owens Limited, operates at 13 ports throughout New Zealand. Port of Tauranga had offered to buyout Asciano at the same price and Asciano exercised its right under a so-called shootout clause of the joint venture.

Skellerup rose 3.8 percent to $1.65 and was the biggest gainer on the benchmark index.

(BusinessDesk)

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