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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop, Sky TV, Xero fall while Property for Industry gains

Tuesday 1st November 2016

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New Zealand shares declined with Sky Network Television leading the index lower again, falling along with Xero and Genesis Energy.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 30.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,930.49. Within the index, 32 stocks fell, 11 were unchanged, and eight rose. Turnover was $111.9 million.

"It's another dull old day really, pricing remains under pressure," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "There's uncertainty over the US election as it gets closer and we're still seeing lots of selling from foreign investors on the expectation our currency might fall on the back of the Reserve Bank's expected interest rate cut. The decline's pretty much across the board."

Sky Network Television was the worst performer on the index for the second day running, down 2.6 percent to $4.50. Yesterday, the Commerce Commission announced it had delayed its decision on whether to approve a tie-up between Sky TV and Vodafone New Zealand over concerns the merged entity would use its muscle to squeeze out smaller rivals.

The antitrust regulator said it was in talks with the companies to extend the application timeframe to give them the opportunity to respond to its initial view. At this stage, the commission isn't satisfied the deal wouldn't substantially reduce competition, saying while consumers may benefit from cheap services at first, other broadband and mobile providers could lose the ability to build scale in their businesses and become weaker rivals, it said.

Xero dropped 2.1 percent to $17.39, while Genesis Energy fell 2 percent to $1.92 and Kathmandu Holdings declined 2 percent to $1.97. 

Property for Industry was the best performer on the index, up 1.9 percent to $1.63. Auckland International Airport rose 0.8 percent to $6.64 and Infratil advanced 0.7 percent to $3.

Chorus gained 0.1 percent to $3.65. Newly elected director Mark Cross sees an opportunity for the telecommunications network operator's share price to be re-rated by the market because of ballooning demand for online services driving the country's data usage. The stock is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 19 times with a dividend yield of 5.47 percent and is rated an average 'hold' by five analysts surveyed by Reuters with a median price target of $4.37.

Outside the main index, Veritas Investments dropped 13 percent to 20 cents. The company said it's on track to achieve its 2017 guidance after its first quarter of trading, with revenue expected to be lower than in 2016. The company remains on track for revenue forecast between $50 million and $55 million for the year ended June 2017, compared with $56.5 million a year earlier.

Hellaby Holdings gained 1.8 percent to $3.40. The company is urging shareholders to reject a $322.5 million takeover bid by ASX-listed Bapcor, saying it's "significantly below" its independent adviser's valuation range. Grant Samuel valued Hellaby shares at $3.60-to-$4.12 apiece, above the $3.30 offer put forward by Bapcor.

Trilogy International rose 1.8 percent to $3.46. The cosmetics brand and distributor has told the NZX it continues to comply with the stock market's rules on continuous disclosure, following a fall in its share price. In a letter to Trilogy, the NZX noted that Trilogy's shares had fallen from $3.85 at the market close on Oct 25, to $3.30 in trading today, a fall of 55 cents or 14.3 percent.

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