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Fletcher Building Pushes NZ Sharemarket Lower Again

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Melanie Carroll of NZPA

Wellington, June 13 NZPA - The sharemarket hovered above levels not seen for two years, aided by Fletcher Building's slide to a three-year low today.

Despite earlier gains, the NZSX-50 benchmark index closed down 23.2 points, or 0.7 percent, at 3416, having shed 1.4 percent yesterday amid very low investor confidence. Turnover totalled $119.6 million.

Third-ranked Fletcher Building, which yesterday slumped below $7 for the first time in two years, was down 28c at 672. The 4 percent drop saw it hit its lowest level since mid-2005.

Fletcher Building was among blue chips under huge pressure from offshore sellers, particularly from Australians whose own sharemarket was also weakening.

"With a likelihood of reduced interest rates domestically, our dollar's going to remain under pressure for a while and therefore the foreigners are saying we'd better get the money out of New Zealand," said Grant Williamson of Hamilton Hindin Greene.

"Although the market's a little bit negative at the moment, maybe the outlook's not quite as bad as what the market is indicating at this stage,' he said, noting that an interest rate cut, possibly as early as next month, would support many stocks.

Top stock Telecom was up 5c at 378, Contact Energy lost 11c to 845, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was up 5c at 240, F&P Appliances was flat at 210, and Sky City fell 12c to 337.

Retailer The Warehouse slid 12c to 518 on investor impatience ahead of a Court of Appeal decision on whether Foodstuffs and Woolworths can make a bid for the company.

"The concern would be that if any of the takeovers were rejected once more, there is more possible downside in that share price," Mr Williamson said.

In addition, the outlook for the retail sector remained shaky. Data today showed retail sales rose 1 percent in April due to a strong rebound in vehicle sales, but core retail sales actually fell 0.5 percent.

Tourism Holdings fell 21c to a two-and-a-half year low of 147 after issuing a profit warning, and reporting the sale of its Milford and coaching assets for one-off gains of about $9 million.

Hallenstein Glasson was down 7c at 304, Mainfreight lost 10c to 710, Cavalier Carpets was down 10c at 260, NZ Refining lost 10c to 790, and Port of Tauranga shed 10c to 680.

Stocks to rise included ING Property, up a cent at 91, Hellaby Holdings, 4c higher at 160, Infratil, up 5c at 218, and Sanford, up 3c at 525.

PGG Wrightson gained 6c to 275, and Skellerup rose 5c to 90.

Recovering from heavy declines yesterday, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.6 percent at 5362, and Japan's Nikkei share average rose 0.4 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks rose after a stronger-than-expected May retail sales report and a $US46 billion ($NZ62 billion) takeover bid for Anheuser-Busch from InBev helped the market recover from a string of deep losses.

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