NZ shares sidestep Asia rout
The New Zealand sharemarket posted a second day of declines, with investors sticking to the sidelines after more headline shocks out of Europe, although demand for higher yielding stocks prevented a rout.
Xero led decliners for a second day as nervous investors continued to book profits, while Wakefield surged on reports of a takeover.
The NZX 50 Index fell 1.73 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 3458.98. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 16 rose, and 11 were unchanged. The market saw a lower than usual 19 million shares change hands, and the 90-day bank bill rate was last at 2.66 per cent.
Sharemarkets across the Asia Pacific region were mired in the red after a Reuters report claimed Greece had little chance of meeting the austerity conditions placed on its bailout.
"It seems the boring, predictable New Zealand market has outperformed global markets again, with all the Asia Pacific bourses down to some degree," said Shane Solly, a portfolio manager at Mint Asset manager.
Xero, the cloud accounting platform provider, fell 4.8 per cent to $4.95, marking a 14 per cent decline from the all time high of $5.80 it hit in mid-July.
Goodman Fielder, the food producer which is set to write down the value of its brands by as much as A$200m, fell 3.2 per cent to 61c.
SkyCity Entertainment, the casino and hotel operator, fell 2 per cent to $3.45.
Solly said a number of participants in the market had started to voice doubts about the sustainability of gaming revenues given the macroeconomic clouds looming Europe.
Fletcher Building, the country's biggest construction firm, fell 0.7 per cent to 5.77, with the stock trading near 18-month lows on fears the negatives from a slowing global economy will outstrip gains from the Christchurch rebuild.
On the other side of the ledger, Wakefield Health surged 18.8 per cent to $5.70 after major shareholders Royston Hospital Trust Board and Medusa launched a bid to take a controlling stake in the private hospital operator at $6 apiece.
Tower, the general insurer controlled by Guinness Peat, rose 1.8 per cent to $1.67, albeit off modest volumes.
Heartland New Zealand, the financial services company which recently launched an advertising campaign to win deposits from the major banks, rose 1.8 per cent to 57c.
Telecom, the country's biggest phone company and most traded stock, rose 1.6 per cent to $2.57 off of 4.8 million shares traded.
Trade Me, the online marketplace provider, rose 0.9 per cent to $3.58, and Contact, the country's biggest listed electricity company, rose 0.8 per cent to $4.85.
- © Fairfax NZ News