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NZ Sharemarket Edges Down In Early Trade

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 2 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket edged down in early trading, with leading stocks Fletcher Challenge and Contact Energy both making small early losses.

The flat start comes after stocks in the United States closed out their worst January ever with another slide on Friday (local time). Data showed the US economy contracted at the fastest pace in nearly 27 years in the fourth quarter.

In this country the benchmark NZSX-50 index was down 1.68 points to 2772.46 around 10.20am. On Friday the index had firmed 4 points, seen as a good effort in the context of down days on other markets.

Among leading stocks, Contact Energy was down 2c early today to 685, Fletcher Building slipped 3c to 562, while Telecom was unmoved at 266.

Stocks recording rises early included carpet marker Cavalier Corp, up 3c to 194, Fisher & Paykel Appliances up 2c to 127, NZX up 5c to 555, Rakon up 4c to 100, and Trustpower up 4c to 750.

Early losers included Sky City down 5c to 305 and Mainfreight down 3c to 415.

In the US on Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.8 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 2.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 2.1 percent.

Both the Dow and the benchmark S&P 500 suffered their worst January ever, with the Dow down 8.8 percent and the S&P down 8.6 percent. The Nasdaq dropped 6.4 percent in January.

January performance traditionally serves as a harbinger for stocks for the rest of the year.

Analysts said the sharp declines in the shares of companies traditionally considered better positioned to ride out an economic downturn underscored the severity of the pessimism.

For the week, the Dow declined 1 percent, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.7 percent, and the Nasdaq edged down 0.1 percent.

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