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Investors Fail To Sustain Enthusiasm For NZ Shares

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 7 NZPA - Investors were unable to sustain the enthusiasm in New Zealand shares shown in the past few days, despite rises in overseas stock markets.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index had risen by a total of about 105 points in the previous three trading days, starting on New Year's Eve, but today ended down 19.14 points at 2764.24.

There were 31 rises and 33 falls, with 97 stocks traded. Total turnover was shares, at a value of $53,380,580.

Phil Hunter of First NZ Capital said he was not aware of any specific reason why the sharemarket in this country was not following the lead of overseas markets which were rising.

"I think it's probably a focus by global investors in the Australian market," Mr Hunter said.

"Sentiment's improved just in the past few days, so we're just seeing a focus on the resource stocks over there."

While the New Zealand market had made a good start in 2009, "today it seems to have missed the general rally in equities around the world".

Among leading shares today Telecom was unchanged at 235, Fletcher Building was unchanged on 589, while Contact Energy lost 3c to 750.

The Warehouse ended up 7c to 365 as investors continued to look favourably on data published yesterday which showed the group's sales for the 10 weeks to January 4 were down 2.5 percent from a year ago. That was a smaller fall than many had feared in tough economic times and helped the stock gain 10c yesterday.

Other stocks to gain today included Ebos Group, up 10c to 440, with NZX ending up 5c to 540, Pike River Coal up 5c to 101, and Sanford up 5c to 550.

Air NZ gained 4c to 94c, with Cavalier Corp up 3c to 190, Auckland Airport up 2c to 172, and Tourism Holdings up 2c to 71.

Among the largest losers, Sky TV fell 15c to 380, Freightways was down 13c to 306, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare down 12c to 310, and Mainfreight down 10c to 480.

Trustpower slipped 9c to 733, with Steel & Tube down 7c to 315, Guinness Peat Group down 6c to 98, Port of Tauranga down 5c to 660, and NZ Refining Co down 5c to 585.

In the United States, stocks gained on the increased likelihood of a government stimulus package after the release of minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting painted a dismal picture of the US economy.

Investors bet technology stocks would benefit from President-elect Barack Obama's proposed economic plan that would include the largest US infrastructure investment since the 1950s.

"There is a little bit of a honeymoon period with the ushering in of the new calendar year, people are anticipating bold initiatives in the stimulus package," said Todd Clark, managing director of stock trading at Nollenberger Capital Partners in San Francisco.

"It seems like there is some willingness to take risks again."

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 0.7 percent to 9015.10, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.8 percent to 934.70, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 1.5 percent to 1652.38.

The Dow has risen in six of the past eight trading sessions to now be down 28 percent from a year ago.

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