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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks fall on European sovereign debt concerns

Monday 8th November 2010

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New Zealand stocks fell for a third session, as risk appetite was dented by concerns that some heavily leveraged countries in Europe may not be able to meet their sovereign debt obligations. ANZ paced decliners on the day, while APN News & Media rose.

The NZX 50 Index fell 2.76 points, or 0.1%, to 3,316.39. Within the index, 19 stocks fell, 23 rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $71.7 million.

Speculation that Ireland will not be able to meet its sovereign debt obligations rose after the country’s “austerity” budget failed to alleviate concern that the European Union will need to bail it out as it did earlier this year with Greece.

“People seem to be taking a moment to pause and consider what is going on,” said Shane Solly, portfolio manager for Mint Asset Investment. “The sovereign debt concerns in Europe are just enough to remind people that there are still problems out there.”

ANZ (NZX: ANZ ) fell 6.2% to $30.50 after the stock went ex-dividend today.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) fell 2.7% to $2.92 as the strengthening kiwi dollar continued to put the exporter under pressure. About 80% of its sales are in US dollars.

AMP NZ Office Trust (NZX: ANO ) fell 2.5% to 77 cents, Pyne Gould (NZX: PGC ) fell 2.3% to 42 cents, and PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) fell 1.9% to 53 cents.

Auckland International Airport (NZX: AIA ) fell 0.5% to $2.15 after it said it is holding a roadshow in the US to look at raising funds in a private placement to American investors.

The funds will be used to refinance debt maturing in March. Auckland Airport has a bank facility worth $125 million on a floating interest rate maturing in March, according to its 2010 annual report.

APN News & Media (NZX: APN ) rose 4.2% to $2.50, pacing gains on the main board. Michael Hill (NZX: MHI ) rose 3.9% to 80 cents. Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) rose 2.8% to $1.85, and Freightways (NZX: FRE ) rose 1.7% to $3.08.

Opus International (NZX: OIC ) was unchanged at $1.80 after it said it had bought Canadian-based engineering consultancy, Dayton & Knight, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal adds 90 staff and four offices to Opus' operation in Canada, bringing the total number of Opus offices in North America to ten (one being in Detroit, USA) with a total staff number of 150.

SkyCity (NZX: SKC ) rose 0.3% to $3.22 after Fairfax Media reported that the casino and hotel operator has set aside between $100 million and $110 million to acquire the half of Christchurch Casino it doesn't already own.

SkyCity has made offers in the past to buy the outstanding share from Skyline Enterprises, but was turned down.

A trading halt on Satara Cooperative (NZX: SAT )  shares was lifted after the shares were suspended ahead of an announcement by Biosecurity New Zealand that it had discovered the Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae bacteria on vines in New Zealand.

Satara’s statement said it was awaiting a final report from MAF

At the time they were halted Satara shares were trading $1. No announcement was made on lifting the trading halt on Seeka Kiwifruit (NZX: SEK ), whose shares were also stopped today.

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