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NZX CLOSE: NZ shares slip for fifth day; KIP falls, FPH gains

Thursday 21st January 2010

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New Zealand shares fell, pushing the NZX 50 Index lower for a fifth straight day, as Kiwi Income Property Trust led property investors to a second daily slide. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose as a kiwi dollar weakened.

The NZX 50 fell 1.96, or 0.1%, to 3225.28. Within the index, 30 stocks fell, 13 rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $128.8 million, one of the busiest days by value this year.

Kiwi Income (NZX: KIP ) fell 2.9% to $1.01, leading a second day of declines for the property sector as investors speculated about the possible impact of proposed changes to tax on property assets. AMP NZ Office Trust (NZX: APT ) fell 2.6% to 74 cents, Property for Industry (NZX: PFI ) fell 2.5% to $1.15, Goodman Property Trust (NZX: GMT ) declined about 2% to $1 and ING Property Trust (NZX: ING ) fell 1.3% to 76 cents. The NZX Property Group Index sank 2.2%.

Among the Tax Work Group’s options, denying depreciation on buildings may be more politically saleable than a land tax, according to Jason Lindsay, an analyst at First NZ Capital. Denying depreciation would also have “the most negative impact,” and could cut cash distributions from listed property trusts by 6% to 9%, he said.Infratil Ltd., whose investments range from energy to airports, fell about 3%, leading the index lower.

Retailers including Warehouse Group Ltd (NZX: WHS ), the biggest chain on the NZX 50, rose as the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence survey indicated consumers may start spending after a muted Christmas season on optimism for the economic recovery.

Confidence jumped 12.8 points to a three-year high 131.4 in January, after two monthly declines.

“The combination of a recovery in housing and prospective peak in the unemployment rate in early 2010 is giving an aura of confidence,” the report by ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie and Roy Morgan’s Mark Dansey said. “Significantly, the current conditions measure has risen through 100 and portends of a preparedness to open the wallet.”

Retail sales rose 0.8% in November, the fourth monthly advance, according to government figures today.

Hallenstein Glasson (NZX: HLG ), the clothing retailer, rose 4.4% to $3.35, leading the NZX 50 higher. Postie Plus Group (NZX: PPG ) gained 5% to 42 cents, the biggest advance of any retailer today. Warehouse rose 0.8% to $3.82.

AMP (NZX: AMP ), the Australian pension fund and insurance group, gained 3.1% to $8.30 on the NZX after AXA Asia Pacific Holdings posted 2009 earnings that beat estimates.AFFCO Holdings, the North Island meat processor, rose 2.7% to 38 cents after the company said chief executive Stuart Weston resigned after three years with the company.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ), which garners almost 80% of its revenue in U.S. dollars, rose 1.5% to $3.35. The kiwi dollar has shed about 2 U.S. cents in the past two days after weaker-than-expected inflation data reduced the prospects of an early hike in interest rates and China announced lending curbs that may cool its economy.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ), the nation’s biggest construction company, rose 1.5% to $8.15. Guinness Peat Group (NZX: GPG ) climbed 1.1% to 90 cents.

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