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Mercury drops as NZ shares extend slide

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/09/2016 Sophie Boot

© Bloomberg New Zealand shares extended their slide with little positive news to stem the decline. Mercury New Zealand, Meridian Energy and Air New Zealand fell.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 38.5 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7,210.73. Within the index, 30 stocks fell, 12 rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $197 million.

Investors are waiting for positive company news to reassure them as local index selling, which began on Monday following a Wall Street selloff driven by comments made by US Federal Reserve officials about the likelihood of a US rate increase, continues, Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners, said.

"We're heading into annual general meeting season and a lot of investors and analysts are looking for company outlooks," McIntyre said. "We had a strong reporting season, now we've got volatility driven from offshore, and there's just a lack of news which is probably going to drive investors to the sideline. "

Mercury New Zealand was the worst performer, down 8.3 per cent to $2.87. The stock has shed 12.7 per cent since last Tuesday, when it reached an eighteen-month high of $3.288.

Meridian Energy dropped 3.3 per cent to $2.77, Goodman Property fell 3 per cent to $1.31, Genesis Energy declined 2.6 per cent to $2.24 and Chorus gave up 1.6 per cent to $3.985.

Air New Zealand fell 2.5 per cent to $1.935. The airline gave its August operating statistics today, and said load factors had fallen on domestic, trans-Tasman and long haul routes.

Skellerup Holdings was the best performer, up 3 per cent to $1.36.

"They're having a strong day on really good volume for them, it's a cyclical stock and with the uptick in the dairy sector after the last three Global Dairy Trade auctions it's looking far brighter than what it has," McIntyre said.

Tegel Group rose 1.8 per cent to $1.72 and Sky TV gained 1.5 per cent to $4.79.

Outside the main index, Veritas dropped 9.1 per cent to 20 cents and Turners gained 1.6 per cent to $3.13.

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