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Failed IPO Adds To Market's Lacklustre Mood

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 30 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket eased slightly in lacklustre trading today, not helped by the failure of another initial public offering (IPO).

The benchmark NZSX-50 index slipped 4.22 points, or 0.13 percent, to 3220.91 on another day of thin volumes, with shares worth just over $16 million changing hands.

Grant Williamson, of Hamilton Hindin Greene, said there was no real movement in offshore markets overnight or in Asia today, and trading remained quiet here with most market players on holiday.

"Tomorrow we might get a bit of end-of-year book squaring on a shorter trading day," he said.

Today's announcement by Hamilton-based natural sweetener company BioVittoria that its bid to float on the stock exchange and raise $20 million had fallen short was disappointing for the NZX and broking community, Mr Williamson said.

It is third IPO deferred or cancelled in the last month.

"It was always going to be a hard sell but the market needs new listings and it's just not happening at the moment," he said.

Allied Farmers, which recently issued 1.9 billion new shares to Hanover debenture holders in payment for Hanover assets, came under renewed selling pressure today with its shares shedding 5 percent of their value to 11.4c.

Among the leaders, Telecom lost 3c to 250, Contact Energy inched up 1c to 610 and Fletcher Building closed unchanged at 800.

Retail stocks were mixed, with The Warehouse down 6c to 415, Michael Hill down 1c to 66 and Pumpkin Patch up 1c to 203.

Transport companies Mainfreight and Freightways were among stocks to ease today -- down 10c to 555 and 1c to 341 respectively.

Elsewhere, Tower slipped 3c to 197 and Vector shed 2c to 200, while Air New Zealand firmed 2c to 120 and Ryman Healthcare was also up 2c to 208.

On Wall Street stocks barely budged as data showing a rise in consumer confidence was offset by home prices stalling in October.

In a low-volume session shares of home builders and oil companies ranked among the weaker performers as investors weighed the data on housing and consumer confidence - two sectors considered crucial for a recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 9.97 points, or 0.09 percent, to 10,557.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 1.11 points, or 0.10 percent, to 1126.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 3.50 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2287.58.

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