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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall led by Kathmandu on weak outlook

New Zealand shares fell, led by Kathmandu Holdings as it posted a first-half loss. Spark New Zealand and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp paced the decline.

The NZX 50 Index fell 4.688 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5870.539. Within the index, 18 stocks fell, 26 rose and six were unchanged. Turnover was $121 million.

Kathmandu dropped 13 percent to $1.40. The outdoor goods retailer posted a loss of $1.8 million in the six months ended Jan. 31, from a profit of $11.4 million the previous period and said it's pulling back the pace of new store openings after aggressive price discounting slashed its margins in Australia. The company's full-year performance would be highly dependent on sales and margins achieved in the current Easter sale period, which had started slowly in Australia, and the upcoming winter sale, the retailer said.

"It wasn't well received by investors and the recent gains the stock had put on from when they last announced have all but evaporated," said Grant Williamson, director Hamilton Hindin Greene. "It didn't seem overly positive comments going forward. Obviously they're looking at their promotional strategy and looking to change that somewhat, and that probably hasn't given investors too much confidence at this stage that they can turn around their performance quickly."

Stocks across the benchmark index were mixed, as investors and traders tuned into the semi-final cricket world cup match in Auckland, Williamson said.

A2 Milk Co, the milk marketing company, advanced 4 percent to 52 cents. Genesis Energy, the government controlled power company, rose 2.1 percent to $2.40. Fisher & Paykel, the breathing mask and respirator manufacturer, declined 1.2 percent to $6.67.

Spark, formerly Telecom Corp, fell 0.5 percent to $3.14. The telecommunications company intends to issue $100 million of domestic notes to institutional investors, which will mature in March 2022 and pay a coupon of 4.5 percent.

Fletcher Building rose 0.8 percent to $8.92. US fund manager BlackRock, which manages more than US$4.7 trillion in assets worldwide, has built up a 5 percent stake in the construction and building supplies firm.

MightyRiverPower declined 0.6 percent to $3.15. The partially privatised energy company, whose first half earnings slumped as it wrote down the value of assets and exited its international geothermal interests, said its gas-fired Southdown power station will close at the end of the year in response to growth in renewable generation.

DNZ Property Fund rose 0.5 percent to $1.93. The property investor sold its 8 Rockridge Road, Auckland, for $6.3 million, below the property's value of $6.55 million as at Sept. 30.