Ricky Wilson / Stuff
The benchmark NZX 50 index fell, pulled down by its largest stock.
The New Zealand stock market fell as its largest stock, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, weakened over concerns over a coronavirus vaccine and rising currency could weigh on future earnings.
The benchmark NZX 50 Index fell 0.14 percent, or 17.53 points, to 12,707.27 on Friday.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was the largest stock traded on the exchange on Friday, with $ 37.6 million shares switching hands. Its shares fell 4 percent to $ 32.20. They’ve gained 47 percent so far this year.
“Fisher & Paykel owns about 25 percent of the market, so it will shift that index,” said Grant Davies, an investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
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Demand for healthcare company’s respiratory devices has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic and advances in vaccine development are weighing on supplies.
“Right now we are getting optimism about the vaccine moving the markets and that has generally been good for the markets, but not so good for Fisher & Paykel,” said Davies.
The dollar’s surging strength also weighed on the outlook for exporters such as Fisher & Paykel, he said.
Westpac said this week that it expects the dollar to reach US72 cents by the end of the year and US74c by the middle of next year.
The second largest stock traded on the exchange today was The a2 Milk Company, with $ 13.8 million shares switching hands. Shares of the specialty milk marketer were up 3.5 percent to $ 14.18.
“It’s been a bit of a mixed day with Fisher & Paykel dropping out and A2 making a bit of a comeback after a few bad days,” Davies said.
“A few of the big caps on the NZX were pushing in different directions and it was pretty mixed between,” he said.
Vista Group rose 2.9 percent to $ 1.79 after the cinema software company said it bought the remaining 50 percent of Cinema Intelligence that it didn’t already have.
The Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, which gives investors exposure to Fonterra Cooperative Group, rose 0.9 percent to $ 4.39 after the dairy lifted the bottom of the farm’s milk price bracket.