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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall from record on SkyCity CEO departure; Kathmandu, Orion gain

Friday 8th April 2016

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New Zealand shares dropped as some investors took advantage of the S&P/NZX 50 Index at a record high to sell stocks and lock in profits. SkyCity Entertainment Group extended its decline on its chief executive's resignation. Kathmandu Holdings and Orion Health Group gained.

The S&P/NZX 50 shed 24.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,730.29. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 23 rose and four were unchanged. Turnover was $212.8 million.The benchmark index has gained 6.8 percent so far this year to reach yesterday's record.

"We're having a little bit of retracement today - we had a massive performance over the last six weeks," said Shane Solly, director at Harbour Asset Management. "We're getting a little bit of profit taking, which is not surprising after a really strong rally."

SkyCity, which has been the subject of takeover speculation, led declines for a second straight session after chief executive Nigel Morrison announced yesterday he had resigned from New Zealand's only listed casino company after an eight-year tenure. The stock had rallied 14.3 percent this year before Morrison's resignation, with that gain now shaved to 7.5 percent. 

"The stock has been very hot going into the end of the month, and there's been a lot of discussion about eventual transactions or asset sales, so there's a lot of mixed signals on that one," Solly said.

Sky Network Television dropped 2.3 percent to $4.65, having gained 3.7 percent this year.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 0.6 percent at 5pm New Zealand time, with dual-listed banks Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp dropping. On the local bourse, ANZ lost 1.6 percent to $24.90, and Westpac dropped 1.4 percent to $31.69. 

Kathmandu Holdings was the biggest gainer, up 3 percent to $1.70. It has risen 5.8 percent this year, having posted a first-half profit of $9.4 million, met guidance, and affirmed full-year forecast profit of $30.2 million.

Orion Health Group advanced 2.9 percent to $3.95, an eight-month high. On Wednesday, the health systems software company announced its second large contract in a fortnight, this time with the largest health service provider in the Australian state of Queensland, Metro North. The announcement followed a rally in the stock last week when Orion announced a contract with a major American healthcare provider. The shares have risen from $3.12 before the US announcement on March 30, having fallen to an all-time low of $2.53 in late February from a listing price in November 2014 of $5.70.

"The market has taken some comfort from the broadening in contract base from Orion, there's affirmation that the product and services are appealing to providers, which is important to see," Solly said. 

Kiwi Property Group dropped 1 percent to $1.45. New Zealand's biggest listed property investor by market value has agreed to buy 50 percent of Hamilton's The Base shopping centre from Tainui Group Holdings for $192.5 million and offered $197.5 million for the balance. Waikato-Tainui will consider the offer for the remaining half share in coming weeks.

Outside the main index, Michael Hill International was unchanged at $1 and has gained 1 percent this year. The listed jewellery retailer said revenue rose 9.1 percent in the first nine months of its financial year as sales increased across all of its four geographic markets.

Vista Group International gained 0.6 percent to $5.38. The cinema software and analytics firm bought movie website Flicks for an undisclosed sum. Vista has been expanding its global operations through joint ventures and acquisitions since going public in 2014, and in February Holdaway said the company had about $27.3 million of cash on hand that it would use for any new purchases.

 

 

 

 

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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