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NZ sharemarket falls quickly in early trade

Thursday 17th March 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket fell quickly in early trade after stocks in the United States plunged on worries about Japan's nuclear crisis.

Around 10.20am, the benchmark NZX-50 index was down 20 points, or 0.6%, to 3306.8, after yesterday gaining 12.7 points amid bargain hunting.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) lost 2c to $1.97 early, Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) dropped 6c to $3.22, and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) gave up 6c to $5.76.

Sky TV (NZX: SKT ) was down 9c to $5.36 early, Sky City (NZX: SKC ) lost 6c to $3.22, Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) fell 5c to $8.70, NZ Refining Co (NZX: NZR ) was down 5c to $5.00, Steel & Tube (NZX: STU ) fell 4c to $2.48, and Port of Tauranga (NZX: POT ) lost 3c to $7.74.

Among a small number of shares to rise early, outdoor clothing and equipment company Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) was up 5c to $1.99 after reporting a 28.4% lift in half year earnings before interest and tax. Children's clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) added 2c to $1.28.

In the US, major indexes lost around 2% in a volatile session as investors feared Japan's nuclear crisis could worsen.

Phil Flynn, senior market analyst with PFG Best in Chicago, said markets were trading "headline to headline, so I'm telling people not to overcommit to markets at this time".

Komal Sri-Kumar, who helps manage US$116 billion as chief global strategist at TCW Group Inc in Los Angeles said: "The trading volume suggests a lot of the trade is due to panic, and soon buyers will realize there wasn't much basis for the move."

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 2% at 11,613.30, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2% at 1256.88, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.9% at 2616.82.



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