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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall with commodity prices; PPP, NZS, NZX drop

Friday 14th May 2010

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New Zealand shares fell as doubts about world growth and demand weighed on prices of commodities, driving New Zealand Oil & Gas, Pan Pacific Petroleum and NZ Farming Systems Uruguay.

The NZX 50 Index fell 4.79, or 0.2%, to 3191. Within the index, 28 stocks fell, 10 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $74 million.

Pan Pacific Petroleum fell 3% to 31 cents as the price of crude oil headed for its second weekly decline on rising US inventories and fears about Europe’s debt crisis, which threatens to undermine the regions growth and hamper demand. At the same time, investors are speculating that China will take steps to cool the fastest-growing major economy.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay, which develops dairy farms in South America, fell 4.9% to 39 cents. About 4% of the company may come on the market after Rural Portfolio Investments was put in receivership with a handful of assets including 10 million Farming Systems shares. That would be the most traded on a day since Sept. 1, 2009.

NZX, the stock exchange operator which is developing a platform to trade derivatives including dairy products, fell 2.8% to $1.75. Guinness Peat Group, the investment group that disappointed shareholders last week by failing to announce plans for a value return, fell 2.4% to 83 cents.

National Property Trust rose 6.3% to 51 cents after Irongate Property, the property investor managed by the St Laurence group, sold about 15 million shares in NAP at about 48 cents apiece, reducing its holding to 1% to 8.8%. Accident Compensation Corp. has emerged with about 9% of NAP after picking up about two-thirds of the shares on offer.The trustee for NAP today acknowledged that unit holders with more than 10% are seeking a meeting to dump the trust’s manager, which is part of the St Laurence group.

TrustPower, the utility controlled by Infratil Ltd., rose 0.7% to $7.35 after posting flat full-year EBIT of $273.9 million, from a year-earlier $261.4 million.

Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the NZX, fell 0.6% to $3.62 as government figures showed retail sales rose less than expected in the first quarter, indicating a tepid level of consumer activity that’s unlikely to spur the central bank into an early increase in interest rates.

Retail sales rose 0.2% from the final quarter of 2009, seasonally adjusted, according to Statistics New Zealand. A 0.3% gain was forecast in a Reuters survey. Core sales, which exclude auto-related industries, fell 0.5%.

Children’s clothing chain Pumpkin Patch fell 0.9% to $2.15.

Xero, the online accounting software company, fell 1.9% to $1.55 after reporting its full-year loss widened to $8.45 million from a loss of $6.75 million, as it continued to spend more than it earned while it attempts to ramp up global sales.

AMP, the Australian pension plan provider, fell 1.5% to $7.45. Chief executive Craig Dunn said yesterday that his company is in talks with AXA SA about making a new bid for the French company’s stake in AXA Asia Pacific. Steel & Tube Holdings, which sells steel building products to the construction industry, fell 2.7% to $2.53.

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