5 Jun 2013

Offshore selling lowers NZ share prices

7:15 pm on 5 June 2013

New Zealand shares fell on Wednesday, as disappointing Australian growth data added to selling pressure from offshore investors spooked by weaker trans-Tasman currencies.

The NZX 50 Index fell 20 points, or 0.5%, to 4453.58.

Within the index, 29 stocks fell, nine rose and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $133 million.

Australia's economy grew 0.6% in the first quarter, missing some forecasts, and both the Australian and NZ dollars have declined in the past month against the US dollar.

Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson said both the New Zealand and Australian markets are being sold off to some degree.

He said even with the weakness in the currencies "a number of foreign investors would still have profits so we're seeing some of that" selling.

AAP reports Fletcher Building fell 1.5% to $1.29 even as figures showed a gain in the volume of building work put in place in New Zealand.

Heartland New Zealand rose 6.3% to 84 cents, the highest since February 2011 after the company said it would take an upfront charge against distressed assets, slashing profit this year while allowing a strong recovery in 2014.

"There's a bit of short-term pain as they look to remove bad loans from their balance sheet," Mr Williamson said.

"Investors like the 2014 guidance they provided. The fundamentals don't look too bad."

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund fell 1.1% to $7.54 after dairy prices fell 5.3% at Wednesday's Global Dairy Trade auction.

Air New Zealand fell 0.3% to $1.47 after it backed down on a court challenge to a settlement deal with the Commerce Commission over the long-running air cargo cartel.