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New Zealand sharemarket opens lower

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 17 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket opened slightly lower this morning after the US market closed weaker on Friday due to low retail earnings and concerns over European public debt.

At around 10am the benchmark NZX-50 index opened 8.011 points, or 0.251 percent, lower at 3182.996, as the number of stocks in negative outweighed those improving.

Fletcher Building fell 5c to 813 after going up 10c on Friday. Its shares continue to claw back from a 50c loss at the start of May.

TrustPower was down 5c to 730 after reporting a rise in annual profit on Friday, and Contact Energy opened flat with no movement this morning after closing at 615 on Friday.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances fell 1c to 62, NZ Refining dropped 3c to 347, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was down 3c to 345, and Infrantil fell 2c to 168 with its annual results due tomorrow.

Going against the trend were Auckland International Airport up 2c to 198 and NZ Farming Systems up 1c to 40.

Property companies are waiting to see what tax changes affect them on Thursday's budget. Goodman Property Trust was down 1c at 96, and Property for Industry remained at 114 and Kiwi Income Property Trust at 97.

In the United States, stocks fell on Friday on a combination of weak earnings from retailers, senate backing for limits on credit card fees and concerns over the sustainability of European public debt.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 162.79 points, or 1.51 percent, to end at 10,620.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 21.76 points, or 1.88 percent, to 1135.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 47.51 points, or 1.98 percent, to close at 2346.85.

For the week, the Dow rose 2.3 percent, the S&P 500 added 2.2 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 3.6 percent.

All three major US stock indexes scored their biggest weekly percentage advance in the last 10 weeks.

However, after the recent volatility the Dow and the S&P 500 are up just 1.8 percent for the year, while the Nasdaq is up 3.4 percent.

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