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NZ Share Market `Muted'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 25 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket meandered along today, moving lower despite some of the newsmakers in recent months making ground.

The NZSX-50 index was down 5 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2630.326 when it closed at 5pm today.

Turnover was worth nearly $86m.

The New Zealand market was still broadly following US trends "but in a much more muted manner", said ASB Securities managing director John McMahon.

Investors were taking some confidence in the capital raising of companies such as Nuplex and Fisher & Paykel Appliances as they sought to address debt problems, he said.

Nuplex was up 20c, or 29.4 percent, to 88 and Fisher & Paykel, which announced it was taking up the Government's idea of a nine-day working fortnight, was up 4c to 43.

Other stocks improving were AMP was up 30c, or 5.22 percent, to 605. Pike River Coal was up 3c to 80.

Telstra was up 14c to 399, ANZ Bank Group was up 70c, or 3.63 percent, to $20.00 and Westpac was up 68c to $24.33.

Market heavyweight Telecom was up 4c, or 1.73 percent.

However, those stocks losing value tipped the balance.

Methven lost 5c to 115 and APN News & Media lost 6c to 164, both on low volumes.

Fletcher Building was down 22c, or 3.5 percent, to 607, Steel & Tube was down 9c, or 3.33 percent, to 261 and Goodman Fielder was down 4c, or 2.94 percent, to 132. AMP Office lost 1c to 90, Kiwi Income Property Trust lost 1c to 99 and Tower was also down 1c to 131.

Contact Energy shed 11c, or 1.83 percent, to 591.

Meanwhile, Australia's benchmark share index rose 0.8 percent over the afternoon, with gains in oil producers helping offset a fall on Wall Street, as optimism lingered that global economic woes can be alleviated.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 29.3 points to 3,609.3 by 3pm NZT.

In the United States on Tuesday the Dow Jones industrial average shed 115 points, or 1.5 percent Tuesday. But it also held on to 382 of the 498 points it racked up a day earlier.

Market analysts said that a pullback was expected given the massive gains Wall Street logged the day before when the government released plans to remove bad loans from banks' books.

Broader stock indicators also tumbled. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 16.67, or 2 percent, to 806.25, and the Nasdaq fell 39.25, or 2.5 percent, to 1,516.52.

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.3 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 3.3 percent.

NZPA WGT AP Reuters dw kn

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