Shares drop as investors book profits

21:54, Jan 30 2013

New Zealand shares retreated slightly in early trade as investors booked profits on yesterday's bullish run.

The NZX 50 Index fell 2.2 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 4,245.33 points in the first 30 minutes of trade. The benchmark index was evenly split between falling and rising stocks. Infratil led decliners, and Heartland New Zealand rose.

While the Reserve Bank kept the official cash rate on hold at 2.5 per cent this morning as widely expected, risk sentiment was bolstered by a surprisingly hawkish statement from governor Graeme Wheeler.

The New Zealand dollar, which traders had short-sold overnight in anticipation of a knock, immediately recovered by almost half a cent.

It recently traded at US83.56 cents, up from US83.15c at 8am, and not far off US83.71c at 5pm last night.

Infratil led decliners as investors booked profits on a surge of more than 4 per cent yesterday.

Stock in the infrastructure investment firm fell 1.6 per cent to $2.47 at the open, Telstra, the Australian telecommunications company, slipped 1.2 per cent to $5.75, investment holding company Guinness Peat Group fell 0.8 per cent to 60c, jeweller Michael Hill International fell 0.8 per cent to $1.23, and ANZ bank, the country's largest lender, fell 0.8 per cent to $33.

Heartland New Zealand led gainers, recovering some ground from a loss yesterday with stock in the operator of the country's newest bank rising 1.5 per cent to 68c.

Summerset Group Holdings, the healthcare facilities and services firm, rose 0.9 per cent to $2.38, Port of Tauranga, New Zealand's biggest export hub, rose 0.7 per cent to $13.90, industrial chemicals and resins manufacturer Nuplex rose 0.6 per cent to $3.32, and New Zealand Oil and Gas, the energy exploration and production firm, rose 0.6 per cent to 90c.