14 Oct 2011

Fletcher Building's share price continues to plummet

6:10 am on 14 October 2011

The country's largest construction company Fletcher Building's been knocked off its top spot on the New Zealand Stock Exchange as its share price continues to plummet.

More than $800 million has been wiped off its value since Wednesday when the firm issued a shock profit warning.

It fell 98 cents to $6.92 on Wednesday, and when the sharemarket had closed on Thursday shares dropped a further 25 cents to $6.67.

Fletcher Building is now the country's second largest listed firm behind Telecom.

Further delays to the Christchurch rebuild and a lacklustre Australasian housing market forced the firm to cut its 2012 half year profit forecast by 10% to about $149 million.

At least one analyst has cut his full year 2012 profit forecast by 15% to $385 million in response, but maintains a buy recommendation on the share.

Forsyth Barr's Rob Mercer says the market's putting too much emphasis on near term earnings and the share price is good value under $8.00.

But Morningstar Research senior equities analyst Nachi Moghe says the company's shares are unlikely to rebound quickly until there's clear evidence the housing market is picking up.

Maquarie investment advisor Brad Gordon says the current share price is fair, based on the downgrade.

He says investors have some reasonably genuine concerns that Fletcher Building may have known about the downgrade earlier than when they first came out with it.

Mr Gordon says looking forward two to three years Fletcher Building is good buying at these levels.