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New Zealand's sharemarket decline less than Australia's

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 17 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket weakened slightly while other markets in Asia tanked today as a wild ride by financial market on concern about sovereign debt in Europe resumed.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 20.263 points, or 0.635 percent, at 3170.744 after opening down around 8 points. There were 20 rises and 72 falls among the 116 stocks traded.

The Australian market was down 2.6 percent as the New Zealand market closed, with resource stocks taking the brunt of selling.

Turnover of $87.2 million was boosted by the sale of 10 million shares in New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay. Brokers speculated the vendor was the receiver of Rural Portfolio Capital. The company's share price rose 2c to 41.

"We have had a reasonable day by Asian and Australian standards," said Stephen Wright at ASB Securities.

Among the leaders Fletcher Building fell 2c to 816, Telecom fell 3c to 207 and Contact Energy rose 2c to 617.

Air NZ fell 1c to 122 as volcanic ash in Europe returned as an issue, while Auckland Airport rose 2c to 198.

The Warehouse fell 5c to 357, Tourism Holdings fell 4c to 88, NZ Refining fell 8c to 342 and AMP fell 15c to 730. ANZ fell 102 to 2730 and Westpac fell 123 to 3012.

SkyCity fell 1c to 301 and SkyTV fell 2c to 479.

Economists predicted the New Zealand Government budget on Thursday would show improving deficits and economic forecasts and provide a contrast to truly awful fiscal situations in other countries but European financial woes were continuing to be a source of extreme volatility for markets.

Property companies were waiting to see if the Government changes depreciation allowances for buildings.

Today Goodman Property Trust was down 1c at 96 on a day in which the Goodman Australian Development Fund was announced in Australia with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board holding a majority stake.

AMP Office Trust fell 1c to 74, and Property for Industry was unchanged at 114.

NZX fell 3c to 172 after reporting first quarter earnings. Xero fell 8c to 147 and Wakefield Health rose 14c to 715.

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.

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