Big stocks like Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Contact Energy and Ryman Healthcare helped drag down a flat and slightly wilted New Zealand market today as investors wait for an onslaught of data to come out next week.

The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 21.1 points, or 0.18%, to 11,596.03. Turnover was $111.6 million.

“People are just a little bit reluctant to chase the market higher,” Mark Lister, an investment director at Craig's IP told BusinessDesk. “People seem to be quite happy sitting on the sidelines and watching and waiting.”

“I suspect after a challenging year, investors generally are probably quite keen to put 2022 behind them.”

After a quiet week on the news front, a lot of local and international data and announcements are coming out next week, which is expected to keep the market busy as Christmas looms.

Locally, this includes the half-year economic and fiscal update, gross domestic product (GDP) from the year’s third quarter and the November Real Estate Institute of NZ housing market statistics.

Internationally, there are also three central bank meetings coming up – the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England and the European Central Bank – which are all expected to lead to interest rate rises.

Inflation data will also be coming out of the US. Lister said that and the Fed’s meeting would be next week’s big news items.

Even though more stocks were in the green than there were in the red, heavyweight stocks pinched the market.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 2.4% to $22.58, and Contact Energy edged down 1.8% to $7.70. Ryman Healthcare dipped 3% to $6.40.

The three stocks turned over more than $24m in volume during a day in which the market turned over $111.6m.

Cinema software provider Vista Group has appointed Stuart Dickinson to take the reins as its new chief executive in early April. 

Dickinson will take over from current CEO Kimbal Riley, who is retiring after five years in the role. Riley plans to stay on as an adviser until December next year.

Vista was up 0.7% to $1.52.

Shares in business email platform provider Black Pearl Group fell again today after a less-than-ideal first week for the newly listed company. By early evening, shares had fallen by 7.7% to 36 cents – a 66.7% tumble from its listed price of $1.08.

NZ King Salmon was also down 10% to 22.5 cents, going in the other direction after its 16% jump yesterday.

ANZ Bank announced it had appointed Clare Morgan to take up the role of group executive for the bank’s Australia Commercial segment and will be responsible for ANZ’s commercial business in Australia.

The bank edged up 0.4% to $25.07 today. 

Westpac rose 0.6% to $24.80, and Heartland Bank was down 0.5% to $1.83.

Scales Corp fell 0.9% to $4.63 after its market update today where the agribusiness group said the directors had declared a fully imputed interim cash dividend for the 2022 financial year of 6 cents per share. 

The dividend was supposed to be paid on Jan 16 but due to the late finalisation of this year’s apple season, “directors have agreed to split the annual dividend payments for the 2022 financial year into three instalments”, the company said.

KMD Brands was up 1.9% to $1.07 today. Briscoe Group and The Warehouse were down respectively 2.5% to $4.75, and 0.7% to $2.93.

In a report from ASB’s Mark Smith this morning, Smith said November was now one of the hottest months for retail over the year, due to Back Friday sales being yet another occasion in which retailers could “pry funds out of household wallets” – but this year’s November had “underwhelmed”.

“Our view remains that retail spending is unlikely to show the same vigour in 2022 as it did during a stellar 2021,” he wrote.

Today, the NZ dollar was trading at 63.75 US cents at 3pm in Wellington, up from 63.40 US cents yesterday.