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New Zealand sharemarket falls 1.5 percent

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Sept 30 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket was shaken today by a fall in Fletcher Building shares on disappointing building consent data in both Australia and New Zealand.

But James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital, said the weakness was broader than just one stock.

"The market in general has been very soft. Markets around Asia are weak and Australia is down," he said.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 48.79 points, or 1.512 percent, at 3178.09 after initially opening down around 5.19 points.

Fletcher Building fell 29c to 806. The stock went ex a 15c a share dividend yesterday and has encountered profit-taking from a sustained rally since the Christchurch earthquake on September 4.

Mr Lee said the building consent data was very negative in both Australia and New Zealand today. An announcement yesterday that privately owned contracting firm Fulton Hogan had formed a joint venture with Australia's John Holland strengthened competition in the construction market.

Telecom also fell 6c to 202 although its bosses took the opportunity at the annual meeting today to let shareholders know they were confident of the company's future whether or not it was part of the Government's plans for ultra-fast broadband.

Pike River Coal fell a cent to 113 after securing expensive short-term funding from shareholder NZOG. NZOG fell 2c to 127.

Sanford fell 2c to 398. It yesterday applied for Commerce Commission clearance to acquire the Skeggs family's Christchurch-based Pacific Seafoods Group.

Contact Energy fell 5c to 566 and TrustPower fell 4c to 731.

Auckland Airport fell 2c to 205 and Air New Zealand fell 1c to 127. NZX fell 1c to 157.

Nuplex fell 5c to 321. Mainfreight fell 11c to 704 and Freightways fell 5c to 295.

The rises were fewer in number but Tourism Holdings rose 2c to 84, Hellaby Holdings rose 2c to 200 and Infratil rose 1c to 178. Steel & Tube rose 1c to 245.

Allied Farmers was trading at 2.6c and Charlies Group at 10.4c. Pyne Gould Corp fell a cent to 41 on a day of a notice that Pyne Holdings, a company George Kerr is a director of, sold $3 million worth of shares on market on September 23.

Meredith Whitney, founder of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group LLC, reduced her full-year earnings estimates on the banks for 2010 through, which affected global sentiment.

In the United States, Wall Street took a breather from a month-long rally, with investors bracing for higher volatility going forward as the best quarter in a year nears its end.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 0.2 percent to 10,835.28, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped 0.3 percent to 1144.73, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.1 percent to 2376.56.

Hewlett-Packard Co, a Dow component, rose 2.2 percent to $US42.53 after the computer and printer maker forecast 2011 profits above estimates.

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