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NZ Sharemarket Falls Early

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 24 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket fell in early trading in the wake of falling share prices across the globe as a drop in United States consumer confidence and house prices suggested the economy was still fragile, while German business confidence fell unexpectedly for the first time in almost a year.

Among shares falling early were Fletcher Building, 6c to 789, Sky City 6c to 318, Trustpower 6c to 728, and Nuplex 5c to 335.

Telecom was down 1c to 229, after a 6c fall yesterday, as the company remained embroiled in woes with its XT mobile phone network.

Pike River Coal lost 3c early to 91, after reporting a $14.1m loss for the six months to the end of December, reflecting the fact its mine was in a development phase during the half year.

The company, which sent its first export shipment of premium hard coking coal to India last week, also announced it intended to make an equity issue of ordinary shares to raise about $50m.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZX-50 index was down 9.59 points to 3116.77, after a 3.4-point loss yesterday.

Tourism Holdings gained 4c early to 100, after reporting a half year net profit of $1.4m, compared to a loss of $300,000 a year earlier.

Freightways also gained early, lifting 5c to 301, while Rakon lifted 2c to 101.

In the US, stocks suffered their biggest one-day drop in nearly three weeks after the sharp drop in consumer confidence heightened worries over a vulnerable part of the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1 percent to close at 10,282.41, according to preliminary figures. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 1.2 percent to close at 1094.62, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.3 percent to end at 2213.44.

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