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NZ Sharemarket Falls, Freightways Falls After Interim Report

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 15 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket ended a fairly quiet Monday session lower, reflecting weak markets offshore and disappointment in the earnings season so far.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 20.94 points, or 0.68 percent, at 3059.55. Turnover was worth $56.2 million. There were 24 rises and 54 falls among the 116 stocks traded.

China sent tremors through world financial markets last week by lifting reserve requirements for banks for the second time this year and investors are also worried about Greece's ability to fund its deficit.

Express parcel company Freightways fell 15c, or 4.67 percent, to 306 after reporting a fall in interim profit today while choosing its words carefully in its outlook statement.

"It is a fairly disappointing result for them and Freightways is a bit of an economic barometer for many people," said Ross Cuthbert, adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

Freightways saw signs of improvement but not yet a sustained economic recovery.

Another big mover on the day was market operator NZX, which fell 19c, or 8.72 percent, to 199 on low volume. NZX on Friday signalled a reduction in the carrying value of a future payment of the carbon trading business it has sold.

NZX Regulation asked Sealegs to explain a fall in its share price last week and the company said there was no material information to disclose to the market. The shares were unchanged at 15c today.

SkyCity was unchanged at 313 ahead of its interim profit report tomorrow.

In leading shares, Telecom rose 2c to 232, Fletcher Building fell 8c to 746 and Contact fell 6c to 562.

Other risers included Hellaby up 6c to 151, Tourism Holdings 2c to 90, and Port Tauranga 15c to 720.

The Warehouse fell 2c to 378, Fisher & Paykel Appliances fell 2c to 61, Auckland Airport 3c to 183, and Infratil fell 2c to 160.

Markets in China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Hong Kong were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday today.

IG Markets said trading in Australia was subdued after a benign session on Wall St and ahead of tonight's Presidents Day holiday in the US. Traders appeared to be waiting for further rhetoric regarding the European debt situation from a meeting tonight.

"The global reaction to tonight's developments will be key in determining risk appetite for the remainder of the week," IG Markets said.

In the US on Friday, the Dow and S&P 500 dipped as China's move to curb bank lending and US and European economic data raised fears the global recovery might be in jeopardy.

Even so, Wall Street stocks ended off the day's lows as investors bet the EU would come up with a clearly defined plan to aid debt-laden Greece and restore confidence in countries using the euro.

"You have the lingering issue of the sovereign debt issue, you have questions regarding growth in Europe, questions concerning one of the main engines of growth, which is China," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist with Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. "It all adds to uncertainty in the market."

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 45.05 points, or 0.44 percent, to 10,099.14. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 2.96 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1075.51. But the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 6.12 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2183.53.

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