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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall, Fletcher falls on tax impact

Thursday 24th June 2010

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New Zealand stocks fell, extending the NZX 50 Index’s decline from the month-high it reached three days ago after government figures confirmed the economy is growing at a more tepid pace. Fletcher Building led the decline.

The NZX 50 fell 4.8 points, or 0.2% to 3,049.5. Within the index, 18 stock fell, 15 rose and 17 were unchanged. Turnover was $55.5 million.

The market shrugged off investor optimism from Australia where resource stocks were pushing the market into positive territory after the resignation of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.4% at 4,503, with Rio Tinto up 2.3% to AUS$72.15 and BHP Billiton up 1.8% to AUS$39.85 on speculation the leadership change will result in a watered-down super-profit tax on mining.

“The change in political leaders has had an impact on the market, but we haven’t seen resource stocks rally as much as we would have liked, and we’ve also been also weighed down by some of the uncertainty in global markets,” said Paul Richardson, chief investment officer at BT Funds Management. “People have been watching the resource tax debate closely, so I suspect it was anticipated.”

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) fell 1.8% to $7.97 after the company announced that it will incur a one-off tax expense of $30 million following changes to New Zealand’s tax law which eliminate depreciation on buildings for tax purposes.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZX: NZO ) fell 2.3% to $1.27 as the price of crude oil fell for the third consecutive day in a row to reach US$78.46 a barrel. Richardson said disappointing results from exploration wells NZOG has an interest in has weighed on the stock.

“NZ Oil & Gas’s recent well activity hasn’t been that attractive,” Richardson said. “But there are still some wells that could come online in the near future, so the market is just waiting for them.”

Retailers rose within the index, with shares in Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) gaining 1% to $2.02 and Warehouse Group (NZX: WHS ) up 0.6% to $3.54.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ) was 3.6% up at 58 cents.

Shares in Kiwi Income Property Trust (NZX: KIP ) fell 1.1% to 91 cents. PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) fell 3.7% to 52 cents.

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