NZX down, storm batters markets

The New Zealand sharemarket fell today as annual general meetings revealed some commentary that appeared to disappoint investors.

With the New York Stock Exchange closed due to Hurricane Sandy hitting the US east coast, investors did not have the usual sense of direction taken from the US markets overnight.

The NZX50 index fell 0.25 per cent or 10.01 points to 3941.28. Within the index, 22 stocks fell, 14 rose and 14 were unchanged.

Trade Me reported its trading volumes were holding up but the rise in business it was expecting had not yet occurred. Its shares pulled back 4.7 per cent to $4.24, down from the record high of $4.45 that it hit yesterday.

Elsewhere in the market, Wellington department store Kirkcaldie & Stains reported sales fell 2.6 per cent and its shares fell 9.2 per cent to $2.95 in response.

Hamilton Hindin Greene client adviser James Smalley said Trade Me's commentary was not negative, but there was some profit taking in the stock in "lightish" volumes.

"The media are all keeping an eye on 'Frankenstorm' [Hurricane Sandy] overseas that shut down the New York Stock Exchange where we generally get a lot of guidance from overnight," Smalley said.

"Investors are focusing on these AGMs and trying to get a gauge from commentary about results ... but on the whole it was a reasonably quiet day with people focusing on the storm.

"On the upside, Michael Hill [is] pushing up against its all time high of $1.23, at $1.20 today [up 2.6 per cent]."

Outdoor clothing and equipment company Kathmandu Holdings was down 2.2 per cent to $1.80. Fletcher Building fell 2.1 per cent to $6.92. OceanaGold was down 2 per cent to $3.98.

Markets operator NZX Limited fell 1.6 per cent to $1.25. The Warehouse Group was down 1.5 per cent to $3.20. Xero was down 1.3 per cent to $5.48. EBOS Group was down 1.1 per cent to $8.19.

Investment holdings company Guinness Peat Group was down 0.9 per cent to 57c. Australian wealth manager AMP fell 0.7 per cent to $5.64. Chorus was down 0.6 per cent to $3.36.

Telecom rose 1.7 per cent to $2.42. Industrial chemicals and resins maker Nuplex rose 1.7 per cent to $3.05. Would-be bank Heartland was up 1.45 per cent to 70c. Diligent Board Member Services rose 1.35 per cent to $3.75.

New Zealand Oil & Gas was up 1.2 per cent to 86c. Rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer Skellerup Holdings rose 1.2 per cent to $1.73. Pay TV operator Sky Network Television rose 0.75 per cent to $5.38.