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Shares down as all eyes on foreign events

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/06/2017

NZX signage  in Wellington.  (File photo) © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images NZX signage in Wellington. (File photo) New Zealand shares dropped on Thursday, led lower by Sanford and Infratil, as investors waited to see the outcome of major foreign events overnight.

The S&P/NZX50 Index fell 9.24 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7458.66. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 20 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $132 million.

Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, said it had been a lacklustre week for the local market but people were looking forward to three events overnight.

They are the European Central Bank meeting, former FBI director James Comey's Senate testimony, and the UK election, with voting for the latter closing at 9am (Friday) local time.

"There's a lot happening tomorrow and our market will be one of the first to react, the currency markets will very quickly tell us what people think," Mr Lister said.

Sanford was the worst performer on the index, down 2.3 per cent to $6.95, while Infratil dropped 2 per cent to $2.91.

Xero declined 1.9 per cent to $25.75.

"It's had a bit of a run - the May result was really good and that saw it take off and surprise a few people," Mr Lister said. "A lot of investors have become a lot more comfortable with Xero over the last month or so, today's weakness is probably just a bit of profit taking after a very strong run. Anyone who's bought Xero at any point this year has done very well."

Auckland International Airport dipped 1.4 per cent to $7.20. It announced plans to invest $1.8b in aeronautical infrastructure by 2022.

Mercury dipped 0.6 per cent to $3.29. The electricity generator-retailer raised its 2017 earnings guidance for a third time based on increased hydro generation in the Waikato catchment.

Sky Network Television was the best performer, up 2.7 per cent to $3.45. The stock reached a nine-year low on Wednesday, and has dropped 26 per cent this year.

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