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New Zealand sharemarket drifts lower in quiet trade

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 12 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket drifted lower in quiet trading today as investors adopted a wait and see attitude to next week's government budget.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 10.946 points, or 0.346 percent, at 3156.078. Turnover was worth $109.2 million. There were 32 rises and 53 falls among the 114 stocks traded.

"Our market has drifted all day," said Stephen Wright at ASB Securities.

Yesterday's Australian federal budget, which included forecasts of strong economic growth, helped lift the Australian sharemarket and left investors wondering which way next week's New Zealand government budget will drive this market.

Tax policy for the property sector is expected to be clarified in the budget.

Telecom closed unchanged at 210 but traded as low as 208 after the Commerce Commission recommended regulation of mobile termination rates. Mr Wright said it was one of a raft of issues affecting sentiment for Telecom.

Fletcher Building eased 7c to 784, while Contact Energy rose 2c to 614.

PGG Wrightson rose 1c to 56 and NZ Farming Systems Uruguay fell 2c to 38.

Guinness Peat Group fell 3c to 82 in an ongoing negative reaction to statements at its annual meeting last week.

Westpac fell 64c to 3067 and AMP fell 5c to 735.

TrustPower eased 4c to 726, Hallenstein Glasson eased 3c to 340 and The Warehouse fell 4c to 365.

Hellaby fell 4c to 165 and Tourism Holdings fell 2c to 90. Fisher & Paykel Appliances fell 1c to 63.

Goodman Property, which reported yesterday, was unchanged at 98.

Cavalier Carpets rose 10c to 265, while other gainers were Michael Hill up 1c to 73, NZOG 1c to 150, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 2c to 342, Auckland Airport 1c to 196 and Nuplex 1c to 331.

At a time of record gold prices, OceanaGold rose 28c to 348 and Heritage Gold rose 0.2c to 2.9.

In the United States, investors dumped stocks in afternoon trading as worries about Europe's ability to contain Greece's fiscal problems crept back into the market.

Gold hit a new all-time high above $US1230 an ounce as investors sought the perceived safety of the precious metal, while falling crude oil prices hit shares of energy companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.3 percent to end at 10,748.26, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell or 0.3 percent to 1155.79, but the Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.03 percent to close at 2375.31.

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