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Whippy markets take toll on NZ shares

Wednesday 14th June 2006

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The Top 50 NZX-50 index sank more than 1.8% during the session, but a recovery in Australia gave it a hand up and it closed down 37.26 points or 1.03% at 3563.25.

One of the biggest falls was in Contact Energy, down 28c to $7.45 on the share price slide of its Australian major shareholder, Origin.

Another stock with Australian exposure, Fletcher Building, fell 18c to $8.47 on low volume.

Market leader Telecom led the turnover, closing down 5c to $4.32 on $61.5 million shares traded.

Total turnover was a moderate $128 million.

Offshore, markets were bouncing back from enormous losses based on lower commodity prices and concerns about a US economic slowdown.

The Australian market was retracing yesterday's 2.6% fall and the Nikkei was recovering from its biggest one-day percentage fall in two years.

Brokers said the offshore selloff was a necessary correction and global growth was still strong.

"I think we're just seeing what markets do, they get over-excited," Macquarie Equities' head of broking, John Owen said.

"They've been stretched for a little while, and then the market takes a breather. In this case they've taken a deep breath."

UBS analyst Richard Leggat said the market here had been "extraordinarily resilient".

The New Zealand market has fallen less than 2% in the last fortnight compared to other markets.

Owen said the local bourse had been supported by corporate action and strong company performances, but it was unlikely to see such high prices again for a while.

Today corporate news was scarce but late in the session, an Australian company, People Telecom, announced it was entering the New Zealand fixed wire and data market via CallPlus Services.

Other stocks to move included GPG down 6c to $2.64; Auckland Airport down a cent to $2.16; Mainfreight down 10c to $5.30; Michael Hill down 10c to $7.60; Warehouse down 12c to $4.85; Sky TV down 10c to $5.65; Tenon down 10c to $3.50.

Ryman, which is moving into the top 15 on the NZX, gained 10c to $8.20. Ebos, which will join the Top 50 as Waste Management delists, was also up 10c to $5.00.

Sharemarket darling Rakon dropped 22c to $2.85.

Falls outweighed rises by 79 to 19 on 137 stocks traded.

Markets are nervous ahead of US data which, if inflationary, may push US interest rates up at the end of the month.

Key consumer price figures are due out tonight.

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