NZ shares down after overnight selloff

22:01, Feb 20 2013

A slew of poorly received company results dragged the New Zealand sharemarket lower, with leading decliner Skellerup down almost 10 per cent after reporting a rough six months of trading.

The NZX 50 Index fell 3.6 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 4210.66 in the first 30 minutes of trade. Stocks were evenly split between gainers and decliners.

Global equities, commodities and other risk assets were sold off overnight on a wave of risk aversion.

The risk-linked New Zealand dollar also continued to fall after the Reserve Bank governor discussed currency intervention in a speech yesterday.

The kiwi recently traded at US83.46 cents, down from US83.59 cents at 8am and US84.06c at 5pm yesterday.

Skellerup led the decline, down 9.8 per cent to $1.48. This morning it reported a 17 per cent slide in first-half profit to $9.5 million after its industrial division weathered the roughest six months of trading in three years.

The rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer has also reduced its full-year net profit forecast as a result of the slow start to the year.

Nuplex Industries dropped 5.5 per cent to $3.28. The industrial chemicals and resins manufacturer's first-half profit more than halved to $11.5 million, after it booked the writedowns and costs from its Australasian restructure.

The typically volatile stock OceanaGold, operator of the Reefton and Macraes goldfield, fell 3.5 per cent to $2.80 after commodity prices dipped overnight.

Vector slipped 0.4 per cent to $2.82. The Auckland electricity and gas supplier posted a 10.8 per cent rise in first-half profits, but warned of earnings headwinds ahead.

Rural services company PGG Wrightson led gainers, up 2.3 per cent to 45c.

ANZ Bank, the dual-listed Australian parent of the country's largest bank, rose 1.4 per cent to $35.50.

Auckland International Airport rose 1.3 per cent to $2.74. The country's busiest gateway reported an 11.3 per cent increase in net profit for the half year, thanks to stronger domestic passenger traffic through its Auckland terminal.

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the hotel and casino operator, rose 1.2 per cent to $4.09.

Contact Energy, the country's biggest listed electricity firm, rose 0.7 per cent to $5.44.