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NZ shares edge lower in quiet trade

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/01/2017 Paul McBeth

Service station chain Z Energy declined 0.4 per cent to $7.36 © Fiona Goodall/Getty Images Service station chain Z Energy declined 0.4 per cent to $7.36 New Zealand shares fell on light volumes as investors await the inauguration of US president-elect Donald Trump and greater insight into his policy programme.

The S&P/NZX 50 index declined 13.88 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7048.48. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 16 gained and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $128.7 million.

Stocks on Wall Street dropped as investors second-guess what impact Mr Trump will have on the world's biggest economy, which is growing at a fast enough pace to warrant a faster rate of interest rate hikes this year.

The incoming US president was elected on a campaign pledging major infrastructure spending, tax reform, and more protectionist trade and immigration policies. Mr Trump will officially take over the White House following his inauguration on Friday in Washington DC (Saturday morning NZ time).

"There's always a period of time when people are returning from holidays, but it seems to be slightly extended this year," said James Lindsay.

"Markets have been waiting to get a bit more direction from Trump and his policies in the US and that might be contributing to some extent."

NZ Refining led the benchmark index lower, falling 4 per cent to $2.65. Brent Crude oil prices increased 0.4 per cent after the International Energy Agency said oil markets had already been tightening ahead of agreed production cuts and it was too early to tell whether OPEC members were complying with the agreed supply reductions.

Service station chain Z Energy declined 0.4 per cent to $7.36, while transport and logistics firm Mainfreight was down 1.9 per cent to $21, and courier company Freightways fell 1 per cent to $6.78.

Power companies providing stable dividends also fell after US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen indicated several interest rate hikes may be needed this year, which would reduce the yield appeal of those stocks. Genesis Energy slipped 1.6 per cent to $2.155, Mercury NZ was down 1.1 per cent to $3.06 and Meridian Energy fell 1.1 per cent to $2.685.

Port of Tauranga, which owns half of PrimePort in the South Canterbury city of Timaru, fell 0.5 per cent to $3.95 after rival Lyttelton Port Co said it container terminal staff were continuing their industrial action over plans to change their rostered hours.

Casino and hotel operator SkyCity was the biggest gainer on the NZX50, up 1.6 per cent to $3.94.

Sky Network Television, which is awaiting a regulatory decision on whether its planned merger with mobile carrier Vodafone New Zealand can go ahead, rose 1.1 per cent to $4.50.

Infratil fell 0.3 per cent to $2.92 after Accident Compensation Corp reduced its stake in the infrastructure investment firm.

Fletcher Building was unchanged at $10.38, while Auckland International Airport increased 0.7 per cent to $6.805. Spark New Zealand fell 0.9 per cent to $3.50.

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