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New Zealand: Shares fall in lacklustre trading; Australia closed

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[BENGALURU] New Zealand shares saw broad-based losses on Friday, with healthcare stocks leading the fall, in a thin trading environment with Australian stock markets closed for a holiday.

Six out of seven major sectors traded in the red, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index falling 0.3 per cent or 26.5 points to 8343.28 by 2251 GMT, having risen 0.6 per cent on Thursday. The benchmark was on track to gain 0.6 per cent for the week.

About 1.6 million shares had changed hands, compared with the 30-day average of 25.2 million shares.

"I think Australia being closed is one of the factors behind the drop-off in volume in our market, as obviously there is a relatively high proportion of Australian situations involved and they wouldn't be able to spell in today, presumably" said James Smalley, senior investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

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"We've also got reporting season coming up, investors are just sitting on the sidelines waiting for news companies or waiting to see how these reports start rolling out and what could happen."

Healthcare stocks accounted for most of the losses, with Ryman Healthcare Ltd declining 1.8 per cent, while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp slipped 0.8 per cent.

Consumer staples followed closely, led by dairy firm a2 Milk Company which fell 1.1 per cent and was among the biggest drags on the benchmark.

Industrials stocks also accumulated losses. Auckland International Airport fell over half a per cent, its biggest intraday percentage loss since Jan 15.

REUTERS

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