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NZ stocks slip after pop concert attack

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017

NZX signage  in Wellington.  (File photo) © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images NZX signage in Wellington. (File photo) New Zealand stocks dipped on Tuesday, led by Comvita and Spark, in cautious trading after a suspected terrorist attack killed at least 19 people and wounded 59 at a pop concert in the English city of Manchester.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 24.80 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 7384.70. Within the index, 18 stocks rose, nine were unchanged and 23 fell. Turnover was a quiet $93.7 million.

"There is very low volume running through the market and Asia, in particular, is trading sideways post the Arianna Grande attack in the UK. Markets are tending to trade a little bit cautiously today, " said Peter McIntyre, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

Comvita led the local market lower, shedding 6.6 per cent to $5.25, reaching a 10-month low, after Ministry for Primary Industries said the myrtle rust fungal disease was found in Waikato on Tuesday.

Spark shed 1.9 per cent to $3.665 while A2 Milk fell 1.4 per cent at $3.44, which Mr McIntyre put down to investors booking profit on recent gains in the stock.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare shed 0.2 per cent to $10.08. Earlier, Macquarie Group lifted its 12-month target price on the stock by 7.3 per cent and kept its 'outperform' rating.

Ebos Group was the leading gainer adding 1.7 per cent to $18.25 after it entered an agreement to acquire HPS, Australia's largest provider of outsourced pharmacy services to hospitals, for A$154 million.

Serko shares jumped 21 per cent to 46 cents after the online travel booking software firm said it boosted sales and scaled back spending.

Chorus also helped shore up the index, adding 1.1 per cent to $4.48. Mr McIntyre said the company continues to benefit from its addition to the S&P/ASX 200 index.

Xero added 1.5 per cent to $24 as it moves toward break even. Mr McIntyre noted that the chief executive Rod Drury seems to be giving a series of presentations about the business which is also helping it get some momentum.

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