Investors less keen ahead of ORC
By Sophie Boot
New Zealand shares fell as demand dried up ahead of a Reserve Bank update, with Meridian Energy and Vector hit hardest.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 70.4 points, or 1 percent, to 6,795.71. Within the index, 35 stocks fell, eight were unchanged and six rose. Turnover was $181.9 million.
"Offshore markets have influenced investors locally today, and we appear to have a bit of profit taking on stocks which have done pretty well," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
The local bourse traded lower than markets across Asia, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4 percent, Japan's Nikkei 225 0.5 percent lower and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropping 0.7 percent.
Williamson said Tuesday had seen fewer foreign buyers meaning the high prices those investors have been supporting over the past few weeks were not present, as the Reserve Bank's Wednesday OCR update looms.
Meridian Energy, which has gained 12 percent this year, shed 4.5 percent to $2.53. It hit an all-time high of $2.735 last Wednesday.
Vector declined 3.4 per cent to $3.40, Xero shed 2.9 percent to $17, and Air New Zealand dropped 2.7 percent to $2.705.
SkyCity fell 2.6 percent to $4.94 and Auckland International Airport dipped 2.2 percent to $6.265.
Skellerup Holdings was the biggest gainer, up 1.4 percent to $1.42, while Westpac rose 1.1 percent to $35.38 and retirement home builder and operator Ryman Healthcare advanced 0.5 percent to $8.86.
Spark edged up 0.3 percent to $3.55.
Outside the main board, Kirkaldie & Stains was unchanged at $3.13. Veteran corporate raider Ron Brierley has increased his takeover offer for Kirks to $3 a share from the $2.75 he offered in March and extended the closing date by a month to June 12, according to a statement to the NZX.
SeaDragon dropped 7.1 percent to 1.3 cents.