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Declines across the board on NZ sharemarket

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 5 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket ended the session on a negative note, with very few top-50 stocks bucking the downward trend.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 10.6 points, or 0.3 percent, at 3218.3, following yesterday's nearly 16-point gain.

Dampening enthusiasm this morning was the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's quarterly business opinion survey, showing businesses turned pessimistic in the September quarter after a year of sustained optimism.

The survey showed the economy contracted in the September quarter after stalling in June, and pointed to little or no economic growth in the second half of the year.

Seasonally adjusted, a net 9 percent of firms were pessimistic about the general business situation, compared to a net 26 percent of optimists in the June survey.

Retailer The Warehouse eased 2c to 395 after it was asked for an explanation by the NZX for its nearly 4-percent gain between Friday's close and the end of yesterday's session.

The Warehouse, which had been placed in a trading halt to explain yesterday's standout performance, said it did not know why its shares had gained so sharply.

Among the blue chips, Fletcher Building lost 11c to 807, Contact Energy fell 5c to 573, Telecom was down 2c at 203, and Infratil lost a cent to 178.

Auckland Airport was a cent higher at 208, and Sky City gained 3c to 295.

Market operator NZX lost 2c to 156 after data showed an improvement in September activity from August, although the market had not recovered from a year earlier.

Insurer Tower, which is pursuing smaller, reluctant rival Fidelity Life, was down 3c at 183. Fidelity said its two controlling shareholders were not going to accept Tower's offer.

Trustpower fell 8c to 732 after its $75m bond offer closed fully subscribed, and the energy company said it had decided not to accept oversubscriptions.

Pumpkin Patch was down 5c at 188, Steel & Tube lost 3c to 248, Hallenstein Glasson fell 5c to 417, and Abano Healthcare was down 3c at 520.

Ebos Group rose 10c to 700, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gained 3c to 307, Property for Industry was a cent higher at 120, and Freightways was up 3c at 302.

Across the Tasman, where the Reserve Bank of Australia surprised investors by leaving interest rates steady this afternoon, the S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.3 percent at 4613.

Earlier in the US, stocks fell in light trading on Monday as investors took profits on recent gains, using middling economic data and worries about euro zone debt as a catalyst for shedding long positions.

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