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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; Telecom, Contact decline, Rakon gains

Tuesday 27th July 2010

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New Zealand stocks fell for the second time in six sessions, as declines in Telecom and Contact Energy took the shine off more positive global sentiment for equities ahead of the corporate earnings season.

The NZX 50 fell 12.7 points, or 0.4%, to 3008.4 points. Within the index 15 shares fell, 18 rose and 17 were unchanged. Turnover was $61.2 million.

“We are in a holding pattern ahead of results season in New Zealand, and the lack of news out there means the market is at the mercy of liquidity flows,” ING equities manager Craig Brown said “Today we’ve seen weakness in Telecom and Contact, which are two rather large cap stocks, so with the price shift there it doesn’t take too much to drag the market down.”

Telecom fell 2% to $1.93. Brown said the stock was coming under pressure with speculation in the Australian media that there has been a lack of strong bids for AAPT, the company’s Australian unit.

Contact fell 1.6% to $5.60 after the biggest utility on the bourse reported no growth in electricity customers last month, with the total steady at 477,000.

“Operations data showed a low wholesale price for June, who has impacted on their year 2010 numbers,” said Brown. “Interestingly, the numbers in the first weeks of July were at noticeably higher levels, so that might hint that they will be starting the year in a slightly more positive position.”

Goodman Fielder (NZX: GFF ) fell 2.4% to $1.62, pacing decliners on the day. Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ) fell 1.8% to 54 cents, and ING Property Trust (NZX: ING ) fell 1.5% to 68 cents.

Rakon (NZX: RAK ) paced gainers on the NZX 50, with shares up 4% to $1.05. Earlier in the day the stock touched $1.07, its highest level in more than five months.

Westpac (NZX: WBC ) rose 2.8% to $29.10, Ebos (NZX: EBO ), the medical and scientific equipment supplier, rose 2.4% to $6.30, and rural services company Pyne Gould (NZX: PGC ) rose 2.4% to 42 cents.

NZ Windfarms (NZX: NWF ). rose 4.8% to 22 cents after reporting annual revenue from electricity sales more-than quadrupled to $4.1 million in the year ended June 30 - still fell well short of the $4.7 million forecast in the April prospectus for its $31.4 million rights issue.

Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ) rose 1.8% to $1.14 after it released monthly operating statistics which showed domestic passengers rose 10.2% in June from a year earlier to 664,000.

Domestic demand, measured by revenue passenger kilometers, gained 10.6% as capacity increased 2.9%.

The airline yesterday unveiled a loyalty card offering discounts of 15% or 30% depending on which plan is purchased, under a system that locks customers into a longer-term commitment to the airline.

Pike River Coal (NZX: PRC ) rose 2.1% to 97 cents, on news that Centennial Coal  agreed to a A$2 billion takeover by Thailand’s Banpu, reported a 13% jump in third-quarter sales.

The buyout of the company had earlier fueled speculation of a looming consolidation in the coal industry, which saw Pike River’s stock price rise as a result.

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