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F&P Appliances Rebound Helps Steady NZ Sharemarket

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 17 NZPA - The sharemarket eased today but pockets of strength among top stocks, including a rebound for Fisher & Paykel Appliances, helped ward off the larger falls seen offshore.

Asian stocks slid, with Japan's Nikkei hitting a three-month low, and the euro hit a two-month low against the US dollar as investors scrambled for safety from deteriorating global economic conditions and concerns about European banks.

The NZSX-50 index lost 7.56 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2672.62, having shed 2.6 percent yesterday following F&P Appliance's shock debt and profit warning.

Turnover totalled $98.2 million.

Fisher & Paykel said yesterday it was looking for a cornerstone investor and it expected net profit to fall by as much as 54 percent to between $25m and $30m.

Shares in the iconic company, which reached a record low of 58c before ending yesterday at 65c, closed up 7c at 72 today.

"The rebound (was) mainly to do with the Prime Minister's comments that he would possibly look to support the company, so we have seen a bit of speculative buying on the back of those comments," said Grant Williamson of Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Prime Minister John Key said it would be unacceptable for an important company such as Fisher and Paykel Appliances to fail because of a temporary crisis.

Among other blue chips, Telecom rose a cent to 250 despite a ratings downgrade by Moody's, Fletcher Building lost 5c to 558, Contact Energy was down 7c at 637, F&P Healthcare was flat at 335, Sky City gained a cent to 282 and Auckland Airport was up 2c at 190.

Fund manager and insurer Tower gained 5c to 155 after upbeat comments at its annual meeting today.

NZ Refining lost 5c to 720 despite posting an 11-percent increase in annual profit to $124.9m, at the top end of its previous forecast range.

Courier company Freightways, which fell 17c yesterday on news it would cut its interim dividend, closed down a cent at 294.

Vector rose 7c to 226, Sanford gained 13c to 558, NZX was up 5c at 585, and Kiwi Income Property Trust rose 2c to 100.

The Warehouse lost 7c to 337, Steel & Tube fell 17c to 293, PGG Wrightson lost 5c to 120, Mainfreight slid 18c to 365 and Methven was down 11c at 111.

Among dual-listed stocks, ANZ Bank fell 45c to 1575, Westpac was down 2c at 2100, Lion Nathan fell 11c to 1089, and AMP was off 5c at 645.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 1.5 percent at 3462.

US markets were closed overnight for the President's Day public holiday.

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