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NZX CLOSE: NZ shares fall for third straight day, led by financials

Wednesday 13th January 2010

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New Zealand shares fell for a third straight day, led by financial stocks, amid indications the Chinese government may be putting the brakes on its economy.

The NZX 50 Index dropped 14.09, or 0.4%, to 3276.19. Within the index, 24 stocks declined, 10 were unchanged and one didn’t trade, while 15 gained.

Turnover was $44.2 million.  Financial stocks led the index lower, with ANZ Banking Group NZX: ANZ ) down 3% to $27.15, Westpac Banking Corp.(NZX: WBC )  off 1.3% at $31.00 and AMP Ltd (NZX: AMP ) 1.8% lower at $7.87. Insurer Tower Ltd (NZX: TWR ) was also down 1.8% at $2.15.  

“The Chinese government is putting on the brakes today, and that reminds people that it’s not all one-way and there’s a bit of weakness in that space,” said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management. “We’re coming into reporting season for the banks in Australia, and there’s potential for AMP to make a further bid for Axa, which is not what everyone wants.” 

The People’s Bank of China boosted its reserve requirements for banks, and ANZ’s Chinese economist predicts there could be three more hikes after Chinese New Year to take its benchmark interest rate to a more normal setting of between 6% and 7%.  

Rubber goods manufacturer Skellerup Holdings (NZX: SKL ) continued its downward trend, falling 4% to 48 cents in the biggest drop on the top 50 index, while NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZX: NZS ) declined 2.1% to 47 cents.  

Industrial property landlord Property for Industry Ltd (NZX: PFI ) was the best performer on the 50, rising 1.7% to $1.21.

Pike River Coal (NZX: PRC ) gained 1% to 98 cents after ANZ data showed the price of raw materials surged 30% last year, led by gains in dairy, aluminium and timber prices.  

Retailers Warehouse Group (NZX: WHS ) and Hallenstein Glassons Holdings (NZX: HLG ) rose 0.7% to $4.08 and 0.6% to $3.30 respectively.  

Bay of Plenty lines company Horizon Energy Distribution (NZX: HED ) surged 28% to $3.90 after major shareholder Eastern Bay Energy Trust announced a bid to buy the remaining shares at $4 each.

That’s 4 cents more than the failed bid of Marlborough Lines last year.  Rest-home operator Ryman Healthcare (NZX: RYM ) gained 0.9% to $2.17 and medical supplies company Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ) rose 0.8% to $6.00 while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH )  increased 0.6% to $3.35.

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