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Market Close: NZ stocks fall, led by Rakon; Lion drops

Monday 17th November 2008

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New Zealand shares fell, pushing the NZX 50 Index down for the fourth day in five, as Rakon extended its slump on the outlook for weaker earnings outlook and Lion Nathan fell on its offer to buy Coca-Cola Amatil.

The NZX 50 fell 25.75, of 0.9%, to 2741.91. Within the index, 28 shares fell, nine rose and 13 were unchanged. Rakon tumbled 11% to NZ$1.11, adding to a 26% drop on Friday, when the manufacturer of components for navigation systems reported first-half profit fell by two-thirds.

“This company was priced for huge amounts of growth and if you’re a growth stock you just can’t miss targets,” said Paul Robertshawe, who manages NZ$300 million at Tower Asset Management.
Brewer Lion Nathan, which today offered A$7.6 billion cash and stock for Coke bottler Coca-Cola Amatil, fell 3% to NZ$10.20 on the NZX amid concern it may have to raise funds in a deteriorating equity market.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 2.5% to 3652.9 in late afternoon trading. Babcock & Brown dropped 17% to 40 cents after Wachovia Corp. said it may seize the collateral on a $112 million loan. Coca-Cola Amatil jumped 15% to A$9.50 after Lion’s offer, which amounts to A$10.35 a share. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 2.6% to 8684.7 in mid-day trading, led by defensive stocks such as Takeda Pharmaceutical after government figures showed the world's second largest economy fell into recession last quarter.

In New Zealand, Fletcher Building fell 2.3% to NZ$5.64 after James Hardie Industries posted a 26% decline in second-quarter earnings, reflecting a slump in the U.S. housing market. Fletcher, which sells Formica laminated panels and steel roofing tiles in the U.S. market, last week said full-year profit may fall as much as 38%.

New Zealand Oil & Gas fell 1.7% to NZ$1.18 as the price of crude oil declined, erasing the benefit of a weaker New Zealand dollar. Crude oil for December delivery dropped as much as 2.5% to US$55.60 a barrel.

With currency-sensitive stocks “there is no free lunch,” Robertshawe said. “It is a race between a lower currency and lower demand.”

Companies with products people will buy in good or bad times, such as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which makes breathing equipment, are outperforming the market, he said.

F&P Healthcare, which gets 85% of its revenue in U.S. dollars, fell 0.3% to NZ$3.18 today. It has gained about 10% in the past three months, while the NZX 50 fell 17%.
Fishing company Sanford Ltd. fell 0.9% to NZ$5.60 and has soared 40% this year.


Last updated: 17/11/2008 5:09pm

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