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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down in light trading, Pushpay and Fonterra Fund drop

Monday 15th January 2018

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New Zealand shares fell in light volume as holiday trading continued, with Pushpay Holdings and Fonterra Shareholders Fund leading the losses.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 30.98 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,211.37. Within the index, 22 stocks fell, 14 rose and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $61 million.

"There's not a lot happening in the markets today - there were a couple of quite strong trading days last week, but we've started off today like everyone's gone back on holiday," said Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "We're in a bit of a holding pattern. We're not going to get any direction overnight because the US market is going to be closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The New Zealand market has got a very cautious tone, we're still a week away from everyone getting back from holiday to be honest."

Fonterra Shareholders Fund dropped 2.1 percent to $6.52. 

"A number of farmers had to share up by last Friday, that's why we saw some strength in those shares last week," McIntyre said. "They were definitely one of the best performers last week, they increased by about 3 percent. It's a bit weaker today, but on really light volume."

Pushpay Holdings led the index lower, down 2.9 percent to $4.01, with Tourism Holdings falling 1.7 percent to $5.69 and Freightways declining 1.7 percent to $7.66.

Fletcher Building was the best performer, up 1.7 percent to $7.70. Sanford rose 1.2 percent to $8.40.

Mercury NZ was unchanged to $3.38. It has selected Tesla as the provider for a scalable national grid-connected battery trial after a tender process launched last September.

Sky Network Television was unchanged at $2.81. It has settled with Mediaworks and Fairfax New Zealand over a copyright dispute, leaving state-owned broadcaster Television New Zealand and NZX-listed NZME still defending the claim. 

Outside the benchmark index, Xero gained 0.8 percent to $32.72. Chief financial and operating officer Sankar Narayan sold A$883,482 of stock to meet a personal tax bill accruing from the share component of his pay packet. 

The Xero executive sold 30,000 shares on market at an average price of A$29.45 per share on Jan. 9, a notice to the stock exchange said. That left Narayan with 42,874 shares, plus another 46,902 restricted stock units (RSUs) and 291,000 options to subscribe to shares under the company's Australian plan. The company will delist from the NZX on Jan. 31. 

(BusinessDesk)

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