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MARKET CLOSE: NZX slips in patchy market dominated by price falls

Tuesday 3rd May 2011

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The benchmark index for New Zealand shares, the NZX 50, dropped a little again today, falling 2.75 points - 0.079% - to 3495.114 in a mixed market with little news to move it.

The volume of index shares traded numbered only 26.8 million, valued at $80.2 million and the value of the index spiked down sharply at the end of the morning session by about 13 points, only to bounce back and drop away again more slowly though the afternoon.

Yesterday the index fell 21.5 points.

Commentators noted falls in US share indices didn't help the mood of local trading today. IG Markets market strategist Ben Potter said in Melbourne that US markets failed to rally on Monday's news of Osama bin Laden's death as it was "a non-issue for markets".

Overall, the NZX recorded turnover of 35.5m shares, valued at $117.98 million, with 24 rises and 43 falls among the 114 stocks traded.

Cornerstone stock Telecom (NZX: TEL ) fell 3c to $2.12.5 after the Commerce Commission today warned that financial statements Telecom filed to meet regulatory requirements were "unreliable" and overvalued part its network by more than a billion dollars.

It disputed the value of the fixed network, connecting end customers to the rest of the network including cables and most of the trenches laid in cities and suburbs, and said that a knock-on effect could be that the cost of providing rural phone lines was "substantially overstated".

Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Kathmandu Holdings (NZX: KMD ) surged in early trading to the highest level in a year - after an 8c fall yesterday - and finished the day up just over 6% at $2.60. It reported a one-third lift in sales in its third quarter, compared to the same period last year, and said sails compared on a same-store basis were nearly a 25% higher.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) shares dropped another 2c to $9.05 after losing 12c yesterday, and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) lifted 15c to $6.03, following a 7c drop yesterday.

Children's clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) fell 4c to $1.18, continuing its decline since the company told shareholders on April 21 to expect a "soft" trading environment.

Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) lost 3c to $9.22, OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) added to yesterday's 5c loss with an 6c decline to $3.49.

In the US, stocks slipped as an early bounce on Osama bin Laden's death gave way to questions around the longevity of the market's recent rally.

The impact of bin Laden's death by US forces on financial markets prompted a quick flurry of buying, which was viewed as an emotional response.

Energy and materials were the weakest performers. Investors pulled back from shares that have outperformed lately following declines in commodities.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.02% at 12,807.36, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.2% at 1361.22, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.3% at 2864.08.

The Australian share market also closed in negative territory on broad-based losses as the impact of the strong local currency on forthcoming corporate earnings results weighed on investors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 40.7 points, or 0.84%, at 4784.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 41.5 points, or 0.85%, to 4854.7 points.



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