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Fletchers, Freightways lead NZ shares down

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/02/2017 Sophie Boot

© Dave Rowland/Getty Images New Zealand shares have fallen slightly, with Fletcher Building and Freightways dropping, while A2 Milk Co gained on news a competitor may be taken over at a premium.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dipped 1.96 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 7.035.54 on Thursday. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 19 rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $108.3 million.

Fletcher Building led the index lower, down 1.8 per cent to $10.14, while Freightways dropped 1.7 per cent to $6.87 and Meridian Energy declined 1.7 per cent to $2.665.

A2 Milk Co was the best performer on the index, up 2.7 per cent to $2.29. UK consumer giant Reckitt Benckiser is in talks to buy Mead Johnson Nutrition, the US-based baby-food maker, for $US90 ($NZ123) per share, nearly a 30 per cent premium.

"It had a strong day based on the Mead takeover bid for one of their peers, that's certainly helped the performance today," said James Lindsay at Nikko Asset Management.

Sky Network Television dipped 0.4 per cent to $4.55. US fund manager BlackRock has cut its holding of Sky to 9.3 per cent, from the 10.3 per cent previously held.

Fonterra Shareholders Fund units were unchanged at $6.19. The dairy cooperative's chief executive Theo Spierings told institutional investors it remains on track to meet its 2025 target to process 30 billion litres of milk from five to six milk pools, generating $35b in revenue.

Opus International Consultants dropped 2.1 per cent to 93 cents. The engineering firm posted a $29.9m loss on impairments against its Canadian oil and gas business, with revenue dropping 6.8 per cent to $470.9m.

Briscoe Group was unchanged at $4.08. Managing director and majority shareholder Rod Duke said profit rose about 25 per cent to $59m in the last year.

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