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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed in light trading, Sky TV and Stride rise while A2, Westpac drop

Wednesday 4th July 2018

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New Zealand shares were mixed in light trading, with Sky Network Television and Stride Property leading gains while A2 Milk Co and Westpac Banking Corp fell.

The S&P/NZX50 Index fell 27.95 points, or 0.3 percent, to 9,025.64. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 18 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $94.2 million.

Craig Stent, executive director and head of equities at Harbour Asset Management, said the market was quiet with Australian school holidays and the United States' Independence Day holiday today. 

"There's a bit of a lack of interest from US markets because they take a holiday, not just today but for the past couple of days as well, so it's very quiet across the board," Stent said. "You've got global indices and ETFs as well, they've become a large part of our market so when they're not around it grinds to a standstill basically. All of July is going to be quiet I think."

Sky Network Television was the best performer, up 4.2 percent to $2.73. Stride Property rose 1.6 percent to $1.87, Scales Corp gained 1.5 percent to $4.80, and Vital Healthcare Property Trust advanced 1.5 percent to $2.07.

A2 Milk Co was the worst performer, down 3.4 percent to $11.40, giving up yesterday's gains. It had risen 3.2 percent after agreeing with Synlait Milk to extend their infant formula supply deal and increase the volume of formula Synlait will supply as the two continue to focus on sales in the lucrative Chinese market. Synlait's shares dipped 1 percent to $11.44, having gained 1.4 percent yesterday. 

Westpac Banking Corp dropped 1.7 percent to $31.65, Arvida Group fell 1.5 percent to $1.28 and Auckland International Airport declined 1 percent to $6.77.

Gentrack Group was in a trading halt at $7. It will sell shares at $6.19, a 12 percent discount, to raise $90 million to repay bank debt used to fund a recent spate of acquisitions, leaving the door open for more merger and acquisition activity. 

The utilities software developer says this raise will leave it with almost no bank debt and give it a strong enough balance sheet to make more acquisitions.

(BusinessDesk)

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