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MARKET CLOSE: Pumpkin Patch slips as investors mull downsizing

Thursday 2nd July 2009

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New Zealand shares fell for a second day, with Telecom Corp. falling as new mobile rival 2 Degrees prepared for its launch and children’s clothing chain Pumpkin Patch declining as investors mulled its U.S. downsizing.

Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) slipped about 4% to $1.45. The clothing retailer plans to shut 20 of its 35 US stores, targeting newer outlets that have “struggled to gain traction.” The stock initially jumped 10% when the news was announced and is up 21% in the past week.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) fell 2.6% to $2.66 as 2 Degrees, which will be the third mobile operator, announced its distribution partners for SIM cards and handsets. The new entrant plans to be open for business in August. 2 Degrees won’t start off with a network of stores like rivals Telecom and Vodafone.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZX: NZS ), which develops dairy farms in South America, dipped 2.1% to 47 cents amid signs of weakening global dairy markets. The ANZ Commodity Index showed dairy prices fell 3.3% last month while prices of milk powder in Fonterra Cooperative Group’s globaDairyTrade online auction fell 3%.

Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ), the largest utility on the NZX 50, fell 0.7% to $5.76 after Genesis Energy, its intended partner in a liquefied natural gas import venture, said the plan has been postponed and the companies won’t apply for approval to build a gas storage facility.

ING Medical Properties Trust (NZX: IMP ) slipped 0.8% to $1.20 after the investor in health sector properties said an independent valuation of its portfolio showed a decline of $6.5 million. Chairman Bill Thurston said the decline was mild compared to value drops for some property trusts.

Goodman Property Trust (NZX: GMT ) fell 3.3% to 89 cents and insurer Tower (NZX: TWR ) declined 1.7% to $1.70.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ), which yesterday named two Haier Group executives to its board and an increased focus on its relationship with the Chinese manufacturer, rose 3% to 68 cents.

APN News & Media (NZX: APN ), the publisher of the New Zealand Herald, fell about 9% to $1.72 on the NZX.

A2 Corp. (NZX: ATM ) was unchanged at 12 cents after the government decided not to convene an experts panel to consider whether to probe the health benefits of A2 milk. Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson saying a European Food Safety Authority review had concluded normal milk doesn’t pose unacceptable health risks.

Hellaby Holdings (NZX: HBY ), which has interests ranging from footwear stores to automotive parts, slipped 5.7% to $1.32, trimming yesterday’s 25% surge when the company announced a 36% reduction in core debt and the conclusion of a refinancing agreement with Westpac Banking Corp.

Allied Farmers (NZX: ALF ) fell 5.7% to 33 cents after its announcement yesterday that recent trading had been significantly behind expectations, because of reduced spending by rural customers and the impact on commissions from a drop in dairy cow prices.  

The NZX 50 Index shed 12.18, or 0.4%, to 2768.18. Within the index, 22 stocks fell, 20 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $101 million.

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