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Fletcher Building drags index down

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017 Rebecca Howard

New Zealand shares fell on Wednesday as geopolitical tensions continued to sideline investors.

Fletcher Building declined while SkyCity Entertainment Group and Spark rose.

The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 2.8 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 7251.55. Within the index, 17 stocks gained, 20 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was $145 million.

The local bourse tracked a similar tepid move across many of Asian stock markets as defensive plays like the Japanese yen and gold gained ground against a backdrop of rising US tensions with North Korea and with Russia.

Fletcher shed 2.6 per cent to $7.97.

"The main drag on the index today has been Fletcher Building," said Hamilton Hindin Greene broker Grant Williamson.

There were some signs of foreign selling in the stock, which has been under pressure since the company cut its full-year earnings guidance in March by about $110 million.

On the plus side of the ledger SkyCity continues to improve, said Mr Williamson.

The stock added 1.4 per cent to $4.52, continuing a move higher that started several weeks ago, he said.

Mr Williamson said investors have showed renewed interest after New Zealand's only listed casino company posted an 18 per cent lift in first-half profit.

Spark rose 2.9 per cent to $3.60 as investors were cheered by news that TeamTalk shareholders overwhelmingly backed a deal to sell a controlling stake in rural broadband unit Farmside to Vodafone, effectively rejecting a takeover offer from Spark.

TeamTalk shares rose 2.5 per cent to 82 cents.

"It was creating a bit of uncertainty for Spark investors and the stock dropped a little when it was announced and now it is completely off the table investors have decided to get back into it," said Mr Williamson.

Chorus shed 0.5 per cent to $4.28 after news it lost ground in the battle for broadband connections in the first three months of the year.

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