NZ shares decline as global uncertainty weighs; Sky TV hits low

New Zealand shares fell as uncertainty about the global economy weighed on investor confidence. Sky Network Television dropped to a new low as the pay-TV operator remains out of favour.

Monday, March 11th 2019, 6:20PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index decreased 49.42 points, or 0.5 percent, to 9,390.85. Within the index, 27 stocks fell, 19 gained and four were unchanged. Turnover was $144.6 million.

The local index tracked lower with its Australian counterpart. The S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 0.5 percent in late trading, as weaker than expected US jobs data, a downgrade to European growth forecasts, and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit kept investors nervous.

"Risk sentiment is up a little bit and we're travelling alongside our cousins in Australia today," said Peter McIntyre, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "There's currently a lack of institutional investors buying - later this month we have some index re-weightings so that should help volumes pick up a bit."

Sky TV led the market lower, falling 6 percent to a record-low $1.25. Some 3.5 million shares changed hands, almost seven times its 90-day average of 559,000. The pay-TV operator has dropped 45 percent over the past 12 months as the company has struggled to articulate a strategy to address its shrinking subscriber base.

McIntyre said Sy TV has been trading on relatively large volumes over the past week and it appeared that institutional investors are selling the stock.

"Remembering that the company still produces pretty reasonable free cash-flow, the market's really pricing in a worst-case scenario for Sky TV," he said.

Fletcher Building fell 3.3 percent to $4.68 on a lighter-than-usual volume of 625,000 and A2 Milk Co was down 2.7 percent at $14.33 on a volume of 499,000.

Trade Me Group was unchanged at $6.38 on a volume of 2.1 million. The online marketplace's private equity suitor secured Overseas Investment Office approval for its takeover today, leaving shareholder approval next month as the last substantial hurdle.

Spark New Zealand was the most traded stock on a volume of 6 million, more than its 4.7 million three-monthly average. The telecommunications company rose 1.2 percent to $3.745. SkyCity Entertainment Group decreased 0.3 percent to $3.76 on a volume of 2.2 million, more than three times the norm.

Trustpower was unchanged at $6.40 on an unusually large volume of almost 2 million shares. Its three-monthly average volume is about 47,000.

Of other stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Auckland International Airport decreased 0.5 percent to $7.65, Contact Energy increased 0.5 percent to $6.45, Air New Zealand fell 0.4 percent to $2.525 and Precinct Properties New Zealand rose 1 percent to $1.585.

Outside the benchmark index, Briscoe Group slipped 0.6 percent to $3.38. The retailer reports its annual earnings tomorrow and is expected to deliver another record profit.

Government data today showed a slower pace of growth in retail spending on debit and credit cards in February. Retail stocks were broadly weaker, with Warehouse Group down 0.5 percent at $2.10, and Kathmandu falling 0.4 percent to $2.44.

Tags: Market Close

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