Local shares fall over regulation fears
By Sophie Boot
New Zealand shares fell as investors mulled the risk of increased Chinese regulation on A2 Milk and Genesis Energy declined. Nuplex Industries gained after directors backed a takeover offer.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 5.18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,725. Within the index, 26 stocks fell, 19 rose and five were unchanged. Turnover was $184.4 million.
A2 Milk shed 2.6 percent to $1.90. The dual-listed infant formula producer, which has seen a surge in demand in China, highlighted a number of regulatory changes signalled by the Chinese government in an investor presentation in Sydney last week.
"There have been changes to Chinese import regulations and tax regulations recently, and there may be further ones, and the market is grappling with the implications of that," said Matthew Goodson, managing director at Salt Funds Management.
Genesis Energy led the index lower, shedding 2.9 percent to $2.03 after gaining 8.3 percent this year.
In February, it posted a 1.5 percent increase in first-half earnings as it grabbed more customers in a tightly contested retail market and lifted generation volumes.
NZX dropped 1.9 percent to $1.01, and Sky Network Television lost 1.9 percent to $4.56.
The biggest gainer was Nuplex Industries, which rose 3.2 percent to $5.24, a price not seen since November 2008. The resin maker's independent directors are unanimously backing Allnex Belgium SA's $1.05 billion bid after the US-based firm completed its due diligence.
SkyCity grew 2.8 percent to $4.73, from an intraday high of $4.78.
"The stock was trading a little stronger prior to the call and did just fall away as the call was occurring," Goodson said.
Metro Performance Glass gained 2.3 percent to $1.76, Skellerup Holdings rose 2.2 percent to $1.39, and Stride Property advanced 2 percent to $2.295.
Outside the main bourse, Wynyard Group dropped 1.2 percent to 86 cents. Chief financial officer Murray Page will leave the intelligence analytics software developer at the end of next month amid an overhaul of its sales strategy after its recent $30m capital-raising.