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NZ Shares Tumble Early

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 31 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket tumbled in early trading after big falls for equities in the United States.

Trouble in the US arose as two major US automakers took a step closer to potential bankruptcy, and a spate of European bank rescues heightened concerns over the financial system's health, putting the brakes on a recent upturn.

In this country, Fletcher Building slid early, dropping 19c to 626 after rising 5c yesterday, while Telecom was down 6c to 226 after yesterday's 4c gain.

Contact Energy dropped 6c to 580, adding to a 29c fall on light volumes yesterday.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZSX-50 index was down 36 points, or 1.36 percent, to 2605.99, adding to yesterday's 11.5 point fall.

Other shares to fall early included Pike River Coal, down 7.7c to 79, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 6c to 320, Sky City 4c to 283, NZ Oil & Gas 3c to 132, NZX 3c to 690, Nuplex 3c to 78, and Sky TV 3c to 412.

The few shares to rise included Hallenstein Glasson, up 5c to 215, and Restaurant Brands 1c to 81.

In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 3.3 percent to 7522.02, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index tumbled 3.5 percent to 787.53, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 2.8 percent to 1501.80.

In the latest efforts in its campaign to shore up the economy and struggling corporations, the US administration forced out General Motors Corp's CEO, pushed Chrysler LLC toward a merger and threatened bankruptcy for both. The companies received a government bailout in December.

US banks' stocks slid after Spain, Germany and Britain acted to bolster lenders as the sector felt the impact of rising bad loans, while Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said over the weekend, some banks still need large amounts of help.

NZPA WGT Reuters mjd nb

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