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NZ Shares Slip Early

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 17 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket slipped in early trading, after equities in the United States ended with a small fall despite rises earlier in the session.

Leading stock Fletcher Building lost 5c early to 550, while Contact Energy and Telecom were unchanged on 577 and 228, respectively.

Around 10.15am today the benchmark NZSX-50 index was down 7.14 points to 2537.19, after rising 20.9 points yesterday.

Carpet maker Cavalier Corporation was up 6c to 150, following a 9c rise yesterday.

The company's shares have climbed from 133 in the last three trading days. Port of Tauranga also rose 6c early, to 524.

Pike River Coal lifted 2c to 83, on top of the 1c it gained yesterday after announcing its right issue was fully underwritten and had institutional support.

Sky City slipped to 277, giving up the 3c it gained yesterday after saying total revenues for January and February are marginally ahead of the same period last year. Also down 3c were Sky TV to 380 and Trustpower to 712.

The fall in US stocks came after American Express Co said the number of people struggling to make credit card payments grew, erasing earlier optimism that banks could return to profit in the downturn.

It was Wall Street's first decline after a four-day winning streak. The Nasdaq fell nearly 2 percent as investors booked profits in semiconductor stocks following a strong week.

Banks had earlier pushed indexes higher after British bank Barclays Plc said it had a "strong start" to 2009.

The bank also confirmed it had discussed selling its iShares unit, in a move that could help it avoid giving a stake to the British government.

The Dow Jones industrial average unofficially shed 0.1 percent to 7216.97, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 0.4 percent to 753.89, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.9 percent to 1404.02.

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