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MARKET CLOSE NZ shares fall; Kathmandu leads retailers lower; MRP falls

Friday 9th August 2013

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New Zealand shares fell, pushing the NZX 50 Index to a month low, as Kathmandu led a decline in retailers after soft electronic cards data and MightyRiverPower extended its slide on concern about future power demand.

The NZX 50 fell 7.74points, or 0.2 percent, to 4533.642. Within the index, 18 stocks fell, 18 rose and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $87 million.

Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment chain, fell 2.3 percent to $2.56 after government figures showed that excluding fuel, core retail transactions on credit and debit cards fell 0.7 percent in July, the first decline in four months.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand fell 1.5 percent to $2.70, and Warehouse Group dropped 1.3 percent to $3.70. Hallenstein Glasson Holdings rose 1.1 percent to $4.60.

MightyRiverPower fell 1.7 percent to $2.26, the lowest close since July 4, while Contact Energy dipped 0.6 percent to $5.32 and TrustPower fell about 1 percent to $7.22. The government this week chipped in $30 million to keep the Bluff smelter, Meridian's biggest customer and New Zealand's biggest power consumer, open until at least 2017.

The deal also gives the smelter greater flexibility about how much or little of its contracted load it has to take. It will now be able to reduce its contracted volume from 572 Megawatts to 400 MW from 2015.

"The agreement between the government and Meridian has satisfied the short-term uncertainty but hasn't resolved the medium-term uncertainty as to whether the smelter is part of the long-term supply-demand equation in the New Zealand electricity market," said Andrew Kelleher, a broker at ASB.

Sanford fell 2.4 percent to $4.57 after New Zealand's largest listed fishing company, said annual profit will fall short of its forecast after lower catches of skipjack tuna and toothfish and slow growth in its main Marlborough mussel growing area.

Profit will probably be $23 million to $25 million in the year ending Sept. 30, from $21 million last year, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

Fletcher Building fell 0.4 percent to $8.38 and Telecom was unchanged at $2.30.

The Fonterra Shareholders' Fund rose 1.4 percent to $7.19, extending its recovery after a selloff at the start of the week when Fonterra announced it had identified three contaminated batches of whey protein. Synlait Milk rose 0.7 percent to $2.74 and A2 Corp was unchanged at 69 cents.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting company, was the biggest decliner, falling 2.3 percent to $16. Air New Zealand fell 1.4 percent to $1.39 and Auckland International Airport dropped 0.6 percent to $3.18.

Sky Network Television fell 0.8 percent to $5.32 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare declined 0.8 percent to $3.64.

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