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NZ sharemarket declines along with other markets

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 22 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket fell today after stocks in the United States were hit by a dour assessment of the US recovery from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

Mr Bernanke acknowledged the US labour market's continued weakness while offering few specific options to stimulate lending and investment.

"Mr Bernanke's comments overnight have really weighed on sentiment and confirmed, at least in the short-term that we continue to be at the mercy of US leads," Ben Potter at IG Markets said.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 22.054 points, or 0.734 percent, at 2981.356, after opening down 6.25 points. Turnover was worth $60.43 million. There were 32 rises and 39 falls among the 101 stocks traded.

"It is a really quiet market. We are having some of the worst days in terms of real volume in a long time, and it doesn't really feel like it is going to get any better," said James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital.

Investors are also waiting for stress-test reports from European banks and regulators on Saturday (NZ time) and for the New Zealand corporate reporting season in the next few weeks.

Methven rose 6c to 151 after telling shareholders at its annual meeting that it aimed to maintain its annual dividend and expected a reasonable lift in profit.

Xero, which held its annual meeting late today, rose 1c to 141.

Rakon rose 2c to 95 after saying it would acquire the assets of French competitor Temex.

Air NZ rose 2c to 108 and Auckland Airport fell 1c to 192. NZ Refining, which reported improved margins yesterday, rose 7c to 322.

Telecom lost 1c to 195, Contact Energy slipped 4c to 566, and Fletcher Building eased 6c to 764.

Kiwi Income Property Trust eased a cent to 94 on a day it held an investor roadshow.

Cavalier Carpets rose 1c to 251 and Ebos rose 2c to 618.

OceanaGold rose 9c to 400 in the wake of optimistic drilling results at its Frasers underground mine.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 1.1 percent to 10,120.45, the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 1.3 percent to 1069.57, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6 percent to 2187.33.

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