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NZ Sharemarket Falters, Freightways Down After Result

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 17 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket faltered today, along with other markets, and as companies reporting results gave little away about future performance.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed down 65.174 points, or 2.068 percent, at 3086.085. Turnover was worth $62.77 million. There were 20 rises and 58 falls among the 120 stocks traded.

The faltering start to the week follows a broad fall in stocks on Friday (local time) in the US, where the major indices snapped a four-week streak of gains.

Weak consumer sentiment data in the US fuelled concerns about the strength of an economic recovery.

There was news in the local market with Freightways reporting today and Fisher & Paykel Appliances announcing that chief executive John Bongard will leave at the end of the year for health reasons.

Freightways shares fell 8.82 percent, or 30c, to 310 after the company's annual result raised concerns about how robust any recovery of the New Zealand economy will be.

The earnings of its core express package business dropped below the prior year though overall profit was up 7 percent care of one-time items.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances fell 5c to 80 as the company updated shareholders on developments with shareholder Haier but did not give guidance about future performance.

The appointment of Simon Botherway as a director was a surprise and the news about Mr Bongard was received with sadness.

Peter Sigley, dealer at Goldman Sachs JBWere, said Mr Bongard had stuck with F&P through a difficult period despite health issues, which was indicative of his character.

"The market probably expected a bit more from appliances in terms of the guidance that came through. And they have had the benefit of the currency," he said.

He said the market had generally got ahead of itself in terms of expectations from companies and several shares which have had good runs were lower today.

This included Nuplex, down 19c at 221, Fletcher Building down 34c at 764, and SkyCity down 13c at 332.

Telecom fell 3c to 272 ahead of its result on Friday.

Infratil eased 1c to 181 as it fronted shareholders at the annual meeting.

The Warehouse fell 5c to 405, SkyTV fell 7c to 466, Mainfreight fell 6c to 499. Contact Energy fell 6c to 629 and TrustPower fell 2c to 756.

Risers included Tourism Holdings, up 4c to 62, Air NZ up 4c to 129, and Port of Tauranga up 5c to 665.

Methven rose 2c to 145 and Property for Industry rose 1c to 110.

In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 0.8 percent to 9321.40, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 0.9 percent to 1004.09, and the technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.2 percent to 1985.52.

For the week, the Dow shed 0.5 percent, the S&P fell 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq slid 0.7 percent.

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