Shares fall as blue-chips suffer

23:59, Dec 09 2012

The New Zealand sharemarket continued to retreat in morning trade, with big blue-chip stocks pacing the decline and investor confidence down across the board.

Pumpkin Patch led decliners, and OceanaGold rose.

The NZX50 Index fell 14.4 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,027.11 as at noon. Within the index, three stocks fell for every one that rose. The New Zealand dollar recently traded at US83.30c, up from US83.11c at 8am this morning.

More than 13 million shares changed hands in the first two hours of trade, with Telecom, Chorus, Fletcher Building and Trade Me pacing decliners.

In Australia investor sentiment was more upbeat following a moderately positive batch of economic data released in China over the weekend. The benchmark S&P ASX200 Index opened 7.45 points higher, or 0.2 per cent, at 4,559.30.

Children’s clothing chain Pumpkin Patch led decliners on the local bourse, down 1.5 per cent to $1.29.

Contact Energy fell 1.3 per cent to $5.25. The country’s biggest listed electricity company is rated “buy” by a Reuters consensus poll of nine analysts.

Chorus fell 1.1 per cent to $2.76. The telco lines company's stock is continuing to plumb record lows after last week’s Commerce Commission draft determination on its prices.

Fletcher Building, the largest company on the benchmark index, fell 1 per cent to $8.16 as investors booked profits from last week’s ascent.

OceanaGold led the few gainers on the exchange. The operator of the Reefton and Macraes goldfield rose 1.4 per cent to $3.70.

Goodman Fielder, the Australian food ingredient maker, rose 1.2 per cent to 86c.

Listed real estate investment vehicle Argosy Property rose 1.1 per cent to 96c.

The Warehouse rose 0.7 per cent to $3.11 after announcing this morning it would buy the Noel Leeming Group, which includes the Bond & Bond stores, for $65 million. The country’s biggest listed retailer said it expected its new acquisition to contribute $4m-$6m of earnings before interest and tax to its first-half results.

Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Kathmandu rose 0.5 per cent to $1.86. Sky Network Television, the pay TV operator, rose 0.4 per cent to $5.17.