The New Zealand sharemarket had slipped slightly further into the red at midday, with the bourse retreating further from a four-year high as investors continued to book profits from a three-month rally.
The NZX 50 Index fell 6.61 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 3810.61 as of noon. Almost 13 million shares passed through the bourse in the first two hours of trade, worth $43.6m in turnover.
The profit taking was not limited to New Zealand, with Asia Pacific markets also slipping falling after rallying sharply in the wake of last week's US quantitative easing announcement.
Across the Tasman, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.24 per cent to 4392.10, while in Tokyo the Nikkei Index fell 0.05 per cent to 9159.34.
Declines were paced by blue chips, with Fletcher Building down 0.9 per cent to $6.88, capping off a 12-week rally sparked by investor betting the company's coffers would be soon boosted by the Christchurch rebuild.
Telecom, the country's biggest phone company and most traded stock, fell 0.2 per cent to $2.50.
Between the two stocks they accounted for 6.6 million shares traded.
Outside of the large caps, trading was shallow, with low volumes moving through the bourse but across a wide range of companies.
New Zealand Oil & Gas, the energy exploration and production company, fell 2.4 per cent to 82c.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the maker of breathing masks and respirators, fell 0.9 per cent to $2.14 with investors fretting that a period of prolonged US dollar weakness will hurt the firms export earnings.
Investors also trimmed their holdings in tech stocks, with Diligent Board Member Services, the governance software firm, falling 1.6 per cent to $3.82 as at noon.
Trade Me, the online market place provider, fell 0.5 per cent to $4.03, with the stock retreating from recent highs.
Xero, the cloud accounting platform provider, fell 0.2 per cent to $4.90.
Cavalier, the listed carpet maker, rose 2.2 per cent to $1.88, leading gainers on the exchange. The stock is rated as "hold" according to a Reuters poll of three analysts.
NZX, the securities market operator, rose 0.9 per cent to $1.16 after it tapped Acurity Health's chief financial officer Bevan Miller to head up finance in a newly created role.
Shares in Acurity, the private hospital operator, fell 0.2 per cent to $5.87.
Chorus, the telephone network utility, rose 0.9 per cent to $3.53, near a four month high.
- © Fairfax NZ News