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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down, ANZ and A2 drop while Vital Healthcare, Sky TV rise

Friday 13th January 2017

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New Zealand shares fell, led lower by global markets, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and A2 Milk Co down while Vital Healthcare Property Trust gained.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 26.82 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,036.77. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 17 rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $101.1 million. 

"It's looking like a weaker close today, though not as bad as some of the Asian markets, the overnight leads were weaker as well," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "We're very much following that trend, down a wee bit. We've had a reasonable time of it so for this year, volumes are still relatively light but we'll pick up next week as a number of institutions come back on board."

At 5pm local time, Australia S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.9 percent, while overnight the US S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent and the Dow Jones Index fell 0.3 percent. 

ANZ Bank was the worst performer, down 2.3 percent to $32.15, and Westpac Banking Corp fell 2.2 percent to $34.50.

A2 Milk Co declined 1.8 percent to $2.22. The shares gained 7 percent on Wednesday after A2's ASX-listed rival Bellamy's issued a profit warning, but have dropped back since.

Williamson said the market was starting to come under a bit of profit taking pressure this afternoon, particularly for stocks which rallied earlier in the week such as Meridian Energy, which fell 1.5 percent to $2.67 and Fletcher Building, which dropped 1 percent to $10.30. 

While local news is thin on the ground, stock market trading volumes have been lower with many New Zealanders still on holiday. However, the inauguration of US president-elect Donald Trump next week could stir things up, Williamson said.

"It might make investors a little bit nervous, I don't think anyone knows what to expect. You wouldn't expect him to be making major calls early, but who knows with that man?" Williamson said.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust was the best performer on the index, up 1.5 percent to $2.09, while Sky Network Television rose 1.3 percent to $4.56 and Mercury New Zealand gained 1.3 percent to $3.06.

Outside the benchmark index, Hellaby Holdings rose 0.6 percent to $3.57. Bapcor's takeover offer of Hellaby has now been declared unconditional, with shareholders who have accepted the offer to receive $3.60 per share within the next 7 days. Representatives of the two companies met yesterday to discuss the takeover after Bapcor gained effective control of Hellaby by securing more than 50 percent of the shares. 

Veritas Investments was unchanged at 20 cents. The company said it is still working through the process ahead of a deadline to present a plan for its unprofitable Nosh supermarket business to ANZ Bank New Zealand. Veritas took on a $5 million funding line with ANZ to buy the Nosh stores in 2014 but has struggled to turn the gourmet supermarkets into a profitable business.

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