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NZ sharemarket falls away from high

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 8 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket fell away today from an 18-month high reached yesterday, with market heavyweights Fletcher Building and Contact Energy both retreating from multi-month peaks.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 17.311 points, or 0.521 percent, at 3307.765. Turnover was worth $89.35 million. There were 41 rises and 32 falls among the 108 stocks traded.

"Market sentiment is a bit weaker from offshore today," Adrian Vance, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

Asian markets traded lower for the first time in six sessions as investors took profits and after Wall Street finished lower.

In New Zealand, Telecom eased 2c to 222 on a day in which the company's XT network experienced further problems.

"There's a lot of negative news already in Telecom's share price," Mr Vance said.

Fletcher Building fell 13c to 837, reversing most of the 8c gain it made yesterday when it reached a three-month high. Contact Energy fell 7c to 643, having risen 7c yesterday to a seven-month high.

Pike River Coal rose 10c to 109.

"There's been quite a lot of activity in the resource sector in Australia, particularly in coal stocks," said Mr Vance.

Infratil rose 1c to 176, while NZ Refining Co fell 9c to 385 and Air NZ rose 3c to 142.

Restaurant Brands lifted 3c to 213. The company yesterday reported a full-year net profit, excluding non-trading items, up 70 percent to $19.9m.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 2c to 334 and Ebos Group gained 5c to 655.

NZ Windfarms rose 2c to 23 after resolving a dispute with its turbine supplier. Sealegs rose 1c to 19.

Smartpay fell 0.2c to 4, Pacific Edge Biotechnology eased 1c to 21 and Scott Technology fell 4c to 126.

Abano Healthcare rose 18c to 550 and OceanaGold rose 5c to 350.

In the United States, stocks fell in a broad late-day drop after a top Federal Reserve official said interest rates should not stay low for much longer, giving investors an excuse to take profits.

A speech by Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig drove afternoon selling after he said keeping interest rates too low for too long would encourage risky financial behaviour.

But Hoenig was the sole dissenter at the most recent Fed meeting, advocating higher rates.

Scott Marcouiller, senior equity market strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St Louis, said the real reason for the US market fall was that it was a short-term extended market that was vulnerable to short-term pullbacks.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.7 percent to 10,897.52, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 0.6 percent to 1182.45, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 2431.16.

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