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NZ shares end lower on regional jitters

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/04/2017 Rebecca Howard

New Zealand shares fell on Friday as investors likely freed up funds to buy Metlifecare after Infratil opted to sell its stake.

There were also regional jitters after the US launched cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in response to a recent chemical attack.

The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 46 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,243.750. Within the index, 13 stocks gained, 28 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was unusually heavy, at $405.94 million.

Infratil added 1.2 per cent to $3 a share after news it had sold its cornerstone stake in Metlifecare for $237.9m.

This generated an annual return of 15.5 per cent over the three-and-a-half years it held shares of the retirement village operator and developer.

"It does give them a fairly large cash stockpile to maybe look at other opportunities. It will be interesting to see what they've got in mind for those funds," said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Metlifecare shed 4.5 per cent to $5.80.

He said most of the declines were in the "heavier end of town" with large caps losing ground, like Contact Energy, which shed 1.7 per cent to $5.17 and Auckland International Airport,which shed 1.5 per cent to $6.70.

Tourism Holdings ended down 1.9 per cent at $3.55 while Meridian shed 1.9 per cent to $2.895.

"The need to raise funds to take up some of that Metlifecare purchase may have led to a bit of selling across the market today," he said.

"It's fairly large in the context of our market and could be a factor of why the bourse is where it is at the moment."

In the other direction, the biggest gainer on the day was Tegel Group, up 4.3 per cent to $1.21.

Comvita added 2.5 per cent to $6.97 "as a few bargain hunters are stepping in, think the sell-down is overdone", he said.

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