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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket rally eroded by cautious investors

Monday 23rd May 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket started the week with a modest pull back from near three-year highs reached on Friday as investors here and elsewhere became more cautious.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 23.305 points, or 0.651%, at 3554.138. There were 26 rises and 55 falls among the 112 stocks traded.

Globally investors are again focused on sovereign debt after Fitch downgraded Greece three notches and they have doubts about the strength of the recovery in the United States.

"It's a classic case of a 'buyers strike'. Markets are facing so many headwinds from a number of different directions and participants realise this and are happy remaining on the sidelines," Ben Potter at IG Markets said.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) eased 5c to $9.13, Telecom (NZX: TEL ) eased 2.5c to $2.28 and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) eased 4c to $5.96.

Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) eased 13c to $9.36 and Freightways (NZX: FRE ) dropped 6c to $3.46.

Skellerup (NZX: SKL ) was down 3c to $1.29 as it got a public telling off by the market regulator for taking too long to appoint an independent director.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) eased a cent to $3.10 ahead of its annual profit result on Wednesday and Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ) eased 1.5c to 55 ahead of its result on Friday.

Tower (NZX: TWR ) was unchanged at $1.83 ahead of its half-year result on Friday and Air New Zealand was also unchanged at $1.12 on a day it announced increases in capacity on international routes for the northern winter season.

TrustPower (NZX: TPW ) was unchanged at $7.62 on a day it announced the purchase of a new meter reading and data management system.

Tourism Holdings (NZX: THL ) rose a cent to 73. The company, which is the subject of a partial takeover offer, today upgraded its operating results outlook.

Kathmandu Holdings (NZX: KMD ) eased 11c to 42.43 on a day it committed to Christchurch with plans to build a new distribution centre there.

Infratil (NZX: IFT ) eased a cent to $1.93 as its majority controlled Wellington Airport took on critics with its plans for a Wellywood sign in Wellington.

Pyne Gould Corp (NZX: PGC ) rose a cent to 30 and Allied Farmers (NZX: ALF ) was little changed at 1.2c.

Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) rose 1c to $1.20 and Restaurants Brands (NZX: RBD ) rose 2c to $2.55. Auckland Airport (NZX: AIA ) rose a cent to $2.32.5 and NZX (NZX: NZX ) rose a cent to $2.52.

In the US, shares ended last week with a fall, as euro zone debt issues continued to weigh on investors, and with retail stocks losing ground after a weak profit outlook from Gap.

"It seems like there's more of a consensus building that there's some potential risk coming on line here," said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investment Management Inc in Bethesda, Maryland, which manages about US$14.8 billion.

"The economic recovery and macro picture do seem to indicate a more protracted slow economic recovery long term," Trunow said. "Unless we see a great deal of positive surprises on economic indicators, I think some of these negative events will continue to weigh on the market."

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 0.7% at 12,512.04, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.8% at 1333.27, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.7% to close at 2803.32.

For the week, the Dow was down 0.7%, the S&P 500 was down 0.3% and the Nasdaq was down 0.9%.



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