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Shares fall as investors more risk averse

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/05/2017 Rebecca Howard

NZX signage  in Wellington.  (File photo) © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images NZX signage in Wellington. (File photo) Ongoing jitters about US politics pushed New Zealand stocks lower on Thursday as investors took risk off the table, with Xero, Fletcher Building and A2 Milk leading the decline on the local bourse.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 51 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 7371.76 Within the index, 37 stocks fell, 10 rose and three were unchanged. Turnover was $154 million.

"The correction we have been waiting for has arrived overnight, with the catalyst being concern over (US President) Donald Trump's presidency," said Greg Smith, head of research at Fat Prophets in Auckland.

Mr Smith said global markets - the US in particular - had been primed for a correction after a strong run of late.

The Dow and S&P 500 both sank about 1.8 per cent overnight following reports that Mr Trump tried to influence a federal probe, according to Reuters.

"I think the market has been looking for a reason to sell-off and now has that excuse," he said.

Dual-listed Westpac fell 4.1 per cent to $33.36 as it traded ex-dividend while ANZ Group lost 1.3 per cent to $31.10 as Australian banking stocks continue to suffer after a tax on liabilities was proposed in the budget.

Xero fell 2.7 per cent to $23.20 as investors opted to sell "on a down market day with risk coming off the table", said Mr Smith.

Fletcher declined 2.4 per cent to $7.99 while A2 Milk lost 1.4 per cent to $3.51.

Overall, the New Zealand story remains positive, said Mr Smith, pointing to upbeat consumer confidence data earlier in the session.

In the other direction, Goodman Property Trust and Infratil both gained after their earnings reports.

Goodman Property added 1.2 per cent to $1.255.

Infratil added 0.3 per cent to $3.00 after that company beat annual earnings guidance.

New Zealand Refining led gainers on the market, rising 1.2 per cent to $2.47.

Ryman Healthcare, due to report on Friday, shed 1.4 per cent to $8.63.

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