Wellington, Jan 19 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket fell today as investors continued to take profits and trim positions ahead of the corporate reporting season.
The closure of the US market on Monday added to the directionless tone and locally the corporate news flow continued to be light.
The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 19.512 points, or 0.601 percent, at 3227.592, after opening down around 8.28 points. Turnover was worth $89.88 million and included volume in dual-listed Westpac and Telstra. There were 35 rises and 39 falls among the 114 stocks traded.
Stuart Hardie, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners, said the market had had a good run and investors had mixed feeling about the future direction. "The market is probably fairly priced at the moment," he said.
NZOG rose 1c to 162 after saying it has been awarded a new exploration permit off the Taranaki coast.
Shares in software company Diligent Board Member Services lifted 7c, or 23.33 percent, to 37c, after reporting growth of 78 percent in fourth quarter net sales revenue.
Among leading shares Fletcher Building was down 4c to 807, after a 20c fall yesterday, Telecom was down 7c to 245, and Contact Energy was down 4c to 606.
Horizon Energy fell 9c to 375 and the company said it has appointed Simmons Corporate Finance to prepare an independent report on the offer from the Eastern Bay Energy Trust.
The Warehouse fell 10c to 388, Hallenstein Glasson slipped 4c to 321 and Michael Hill rose 1c to 72.
Auckland Airport fell 1c to 190 and Air NZ was unchanged at 116.
Pike River Coal rose 4c to 106, and NZ Refining rose 7c to 399. Oceania Gold rose 17c to 256.
Cavalier Carpets continued at run higher, rising 10c to 285, and the shares are now at their highest level since September 2008.
Tourism Holdings rose 1c to 101 and SkyCity fell 1c to 331.
Property for Industry rose 3c to 121 and Kiwi Income Property Trust rose 1c to 106.
Shares in Wellington retailer Kirkcaldie & Stains rose 13c to a 20-month high 285 on modest turnover.
Overnight, European shares advanced, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 rising 0.7 percent, as firmer commodity prices lifted mining and oil shares.
Across Asia today, stocks were mostly lower for a second straight session, led by Australian financials and Japanese manufacturers on concerns about earnings growth for 2010, IG Markets reported.
"Looking ahead, it's going to be tough for the market to make new highs ahead of the local reporting season in February. So far, what we've seen from the US in terms of Q4 reports has been very mixed at best, with no clear direction at all," IG Markets analyst Ben Potter said.
"Rather than buying now ahead of all this uncertainty, we may see investors happily sitting on the sidelines, biding time before committing more funds to the market."
Compare Credit Cards - Independent interest rate and fees comparisons for New Zealand banks.