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The Markets

NZX closes at lowest level in a month; Rising US bond yields ripple through Asia

New Zealand shares joined a global sell-off as rising US bond yields took the sheen off blue-chip stocks including Fletcher Building, Contact Energy and Spark New Zealand. Z Energy fell to a two-and-a-half month low on a threat of heightened regulation.

Monday, October 8th 2018, 7:12PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 67.77 points, or 0.7 percent, to 9,147.10, its lowest close in almost a month. Within the index, 32 stocks fell, 13 gained, and five were unchanged. Turnover was a quieter than usual $74 million.

Stocks across Asia were weaker, taking their cue from Wall Street on Friday, as US bond yields continued to press higher on upbeat economic data there. China's Shanghai Composite Index dropped 3 percent in afternoon trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.8 percent. Trading was subdued ahead of the Columbus Day holiday in the US.

New Zealand's sell-off was widespread, covering blue-chip stocks, rate-sensitive companies, and growth-focused firms. Pushpay Holdings fell 2.5 percent to $3.94, Fletcher dropped 2.2 percent to $6.29, SkyCity Entertainment Group declined 2 percent to $3.96, Contact was down 1.2 percent to $5.81 and Spark slipped 1 percent to $3.97.

"The weakness on Wall Street is putting a bit of pressure on the New Zealand and Australian markets," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "We're seeing some profit-taking in some stocks. There's not a lot of reasons to buy equities at the moment."

Z Energy fell 2.4 percent to $6.99, its lowest close since late July, after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said fuel companies are "fleecing" consumers. She's pledged to fast-track legislation granting new investigative powers for the Commerce Commission. New Zealand Refining fell 1.1 percent to $2.60.

Retirement village operators were also weaker. Summerset Group fell 2.1 percent to $7.42, Ryman Healthcare declined 2.2 percent to $13.21, and Metlifecare slipped 0.9 percent to 6.29.

Kathmandu Holdings led the market lower, down 2.8 percent to $3.16. The kiwi dollar is trading near a two-and-a-half year low, which pushes up costs for importers such as Kathmandu.

Sky Network Television posted the biggest gain on the day, up 1.9 percent to $2.14. Genesis Energy rose 1.2 percent to $2.45 and Trustpower increased 1.1 percent to $6.19.

Chorus advanced 1 percent to $4.90 after government data showed rising numbers of fibre connections.

NZX rose 0.9 percent to $1.09 after rejecting a bid by shareholder Elevation Capital to replace three of its board members and adopt a new strategy.

Tegel Group Holdings was unchanged at $1.22. Trading in the poultry company was suspended at the close pending its takeover and de-listing later this month.

TIL Logistics halted trading in its stock today to let some of its shareholders sell 14.5 percent of the trucking company in a bookbuild managed by Woodward Partners. The stock last traded at $1.66.

Tags: Market Close

« NZ shares fall as rising yields trim demand; Synlait dropsNZ shares fall for 7th day as US bond yields hold sway »

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