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Share Market Falls After Strong Fortnight

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 30 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket lost ground today but losses were alleviated by gains in heavyweight stocks in the afternoon.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index was down 11.487 points overall, or 0.433 percent, to 2641.988, following its 37.2-point gain on Friday.

Turnover of 23 million stocks was worth $61.7 million.

The market was down in reaction to slightly weaker offshore markets on Friday night, said Grant Williamson, director of Hamilton, Hindin, Greene. There was some retail investors profit taking after two weeks of steady gains.

"But we did experience a bit of a turnaround late in the afternoon. We saw a nice turnaround in stocks like Telecom and Fletcher Building that saw those stocks close higher. But it was really Contact Energy that weighed on the market."

Contact was down 29c to 586 on light volumes.

"That stock seems to be fluctuating about so much on a daily basis. No reason for it, just normal trading."

Stocks under debt pressure also lost ground. Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down 3c to 50 with shareholders still waiting for news on possible capital raising.

Nuplex was down 8c to 81 after nearly doubling last week.

Australia's Orbis Investment Management sold some of its Nuplex stock today.

AMP Office was heavily sold and lost 1c to 87. Other stocks to slip were Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, down 16c, or 7 percent, to 210.

Michael Hill International lost 2c to 51 and Air New Zealand lost 3c to 91.

Positive movers on heaviest trading were Telecom, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, up 6c to 326, and Fletcher Building, up 5c to 645.

Telecom was up 4c to 232 after it had under performed in the last two weeks with the Commerce Commission on its case over mobile call cost s.

Up, but on much lower volumes, were Pike River Coal, 4c to 90 as it gets back on track to producing coal, Methven 5c to 120 and Cavalier Corporation 7c to 180.

Rakon gained 2c to 130 and TrustPower rose 11c to 720.

In overseas markets Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 2.6 percent on Monday as automakers tumbled on renewed worries about their US peers after a US autos task force said plans submitted by General Motors and Chrysler failed to show how they could be viable.

The yen rose sharply on the news and this undercut the benchmark Nikkei broadly, which extended its slide by 238.16 points to 8,388.81.

Australian stocks extended their losses to 1.9 percent on Monday, pulled down by the top banks, after fresh worries about the health of the financial sector saw Wall Street stocks sold off on Friday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was 69.2 points lower at 3,603.1 at 0422 GMT.

In the US on Friday Wall Street capped a strong week on a down note.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.9 percent to 7776.18, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 2 percent to 815.94, and the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 2.6 percent to 1545.20.

For the week, the blue-chip index rose 6.8 percent, the S&P 500 gained 6.2 percent and the Nasdaq rose 6 percent.

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