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NZ Sharemarket Down In Early Trade

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 23 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket was lower in early trade after shares fell in the United States on an unrelenting tide of bad economic news.

Among leading shares in this country, Fletcher Building was down 5c early to 605 after a standout performance yesterday which saw it add 27c.

Contact Energy also dropped 5c early to 700, while Telecom was down 1c to 225.

About 10.15am the benchmark NZSX-50 index was down 7.32 points to 2672.43, after yesterday gaining 24.4 points on light volume in a clearly pre-Christmas market.

Few shares gained in early trading today, with Guinness Peat Group up 1c to 95, Infratil up 1c to 167, Kiwi Income Property Trust up 1c to 99, and NZ Farming Systems Uruguay up 1c to 60.

The biggest losers included Mainfreight down 10c to 450, Cavalier down 8c to 172, The Warehouse down 3c to 350, and Fisher & Paykel Appliances down 2c to 125.

In the US, stocks fell on more evidence the year-long recession will keep eating into corporate profits, while retailers tumbled on worry the holiday shopping season could be the worst in nearly 40 years.

Preliminary closing data put the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.7 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index down 1.8 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite Index down 2 percent.

Japan's Toyota Motor Co said it would post an operating loss for the first time, knocking its US shares 5.4 percent lower, while investors worried whether Washington's rescue package for General Motors would leave its shareholders out in the cold.

NZPA WGT Reuters mjd rq

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