MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall, led by CAV, Goodman Property

Nov. 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell, led by carpet-maker Cavalier, Kathmandu and Goodman Property Trust after retail sales data underlined the weak state of the economy in the third quarter. Diligent Board Member Services led gainers after posting quarterly results.

The NZX 50 Index fell 14.99 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3955.56. Within the index, 29 stocks fell, 13 rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $107 million.

Government figures showed the volume of retail sales fell 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, in the three months ended Sept. 30, against a Reuters survey calling for a 0.5 percent gain. That adds to the gloom from data last week showing the jobless rate unexpectedly jumped to 7.3 percent, suggesting the economy’s pace is stumbling

"There's been a lot of soft market indicators in the last couple of months, and they built to a bit of a crescendo with those unemployment numbers," said Andrew Bascand, managing director at Harbour Asset Management.

Cavalier dropped 3.3 percent to $1.74 and Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment chain, fell 2.9 percent to $1.70.

Goodman Property dropped 2.8 percent to $1.03 after completing a placement of $60 million of new units as part of an $80 million equity-raising to help fund the $186.6 million buy-out of an Auckland business park, Highbrook.

Bascand said the impact of the placement had been muted because the key influence on New Zealand equities remained the fact there is "still a lot of money out there looking for a home."

Kiwi Income Property Trust fell 1.3 percent to $1.16 after reporting a 16 percent decline in pretax operating earnings in the first half as rental income fell, interest costs rose and it paid a performance fee to its manager.

Diligent gained 5 percent to $3.96 on news of a 145 percent increase in quarterly revenue to Sept. 30, and a solid increase in margins as the company's corporate governance product begins to gain scale in key markets.

Among other retailers, jeweler Michael Hill International rose 0.8 percent to $1.22 and clothing chain Hallenstein Glasson Holdings rose 0.8 percent to $5.

Bascand said the retail sales data didn’t dent retail stocks as much as feared because the biggest impact was on supermarket sales, which is unrepresented on the New Zealand sharemarket.

As much as US$1 billion a week in new funds was being channelled weekly to market-tracking funds globally. New Zealand and Australia represented attractive opportunities for global investors, some of whom were only now learning about factors such as the local real interest rate environment and the underpinning effect of the Christchurch rebuild on the New Zealand economy, said Bascand.

Fletcher Building, the biggest listed construction company, fell 0.9 percent to $7.34. Nuplex Industries fell 1.4 percent to $2.90.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, fell 1.9 percent to $6.24. Chief executive Rod Drury said the company would press on with spending to lift sales though this strategy “will increase losses in the immediate future.” Sales rose 119 percent to $17.3 million in the first half while the ebitda loss widened to $5.5 million from $3.2 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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