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NZ Sharemarket Keeps Falling

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 9 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket continued to lose ground, sliding more than half a percent today to reach levels last seen more than five months ago.

The benchmark NZX-50 index was down 17 points, or 0.55 percent, to 3076.451 at the close of trading today, a level it last saw at the beginning of September last year.

Turnover of 25.9 million was worth $62.7 million.

It was another down day in reaction to offshore markets, said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

"Most attention today was with what the prime minister had to say this afternoon, which probably didn't shed a huge amount of light on what the budget in May is going to bring. It did give a little bit but we were probably expecting a little more detail."

However, on the positive there was a bit of a rally in the property trusts, which had been under pressure since the Tax Working Group mooted possible changes on property taxation, he said.

"All eyes are still on what's happening offshore, particularly in Europe and the debt issues they are having and what effect they will have on the world markets. But we will hope for some positives to come out of the reporting season kicking off pretty soon."

Telecom, which reports on Friday, today lost 2c to 228, Auckland Airport was down 5c to 187 and Sky City slid 6c to 318. Fletcher Building dropped 4c to 746, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was down 1c to 334

Sky TV lost 5c to 475, Contact Energy leaked 3c to 580 and Guinness Peat Group was down 2c to 83. Pike River Coal lost 3c to 88, Hellaby slimmed 5c to 160 and NZ Refining bled 11c to 355.

The Warehouse was unchanged at 378 while improving stocks included Fisher & Paykel Appliances, up 1c to 61, and AMP Office up 2c to 76

Tower, which today said it was ahead of its year ago results in the three months to December, was up 2c to 194, while Kiwi Income Property Trust was up 2c to 104 and Goodman Property Management gained 2c to 102.

Overseas markets continued to struggle during NZ trading time, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index down 0.3 percent and Japan's Nikkei average losing 0.4 percent to hit its lowest level in two months. Australian stocks also trailed, shedding 0.8 percent, after a lukewarm trading update from top investment bank Macquarie Group.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1 percent and ended below 10,000 for the first time since November. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent.

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