Shares slip further into red

The New Zealand sharemarket slipped deeper into the red in morning trade, retreating from the near five year high it hit yesterday as investors booked profits on the rally.

Trading was marked by broad interest across the benchmark, although a lack of clear leads meant activity was shallow.

The NZX 50 Index fell 12.69 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 3989.25 as of noon. A lower than usual 6.1 million shares changed hands in the first two hours of trade, worth $21.5m in turnover.

SkyCity Entertainment, the casino and hotel operator, fell 3 per cent to $3.87 at the open. The stock is rated as "buy" according to a Reuters poll of nine analysts.

OceanaGold, the operator of the Macraes and Reefton goldfields, fell 2.3 per cent to $4.30 as the price of gold continued to edge lower.

The precious metal last traded at US$1742.45 an ounce, down from a high if US$1798 at the beginning of the month.

Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, fell 1.6 per cent to $1.20 as investors booked profits on the stock's 30 per cent plus rally over the past three months.

Similarly, Fletcher Building saw profit takers set in, with the stock falling 1.3 per cent to $7.49.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances, the whiteware maker, fell 0.4 per cent to $1.26.

That's two cents below what bidder Haier is willing to pay for the firm, having yesterday revised its original offer of $1.20 per share up by 8c.

It has already secured a majority in the firm, with institutional investors Harbour Asset Management, AMP Capital, Accident Compensation Corp. and Allan Gray all agreeing to sell into the deal. The Chinese firm is pushing for full control.

Goodman Fielder, the Australian food ingredient maker, rose 3 per cent to 70c, leading gainers on the exchange on what appeared to be shareholders taking a stake in the firm with 17,500 shares traded.

Precinct Properties, the real estate investor previously known as AMP NZ Office, rose 1 per cent to $1.01.

Air New Zealand, the national carrier, rose 0.8 per cent to $1.25.

Official figures showed 179,100 short-term visitors arrived in New Zealand last month down from 219,900 visitors in September 2011, which was boosted by the Rugby World Cup.