Sharemarket falls for second day

05:34, Feb 21 2013

The New Zealand sharemarket fell for the second day running, dragged down by falling Australian stocks, weaker commodities prices and disappointing results from locally-listed Nuplex and Skellerup.

Fallout from yesterday's half year result continued to drag on Fletcher Building, while gold prices knocked down OceanaGold.

The benchmark NZX 50 Index fell 43.81 points, or 1.04 per cent, to close at 4,170.42

Within the index 24 stocks fell and 10 rose.

James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital said the local market followed the lead of falling Australian stocks, further weakened by the negative tone of earnings announcements from Nuplex and Skellerup.

It was a bumper day for earnings reports here and over the Tasman.

Oceana Gold Corp, the miner which operates that Macraes and Reefton goldfields, lead decliners on the NZX50, falling 10 per cent to $2.61.

Gold prices have been falling as economic concerns ease in the United States, pruning demand for the metal as an investment hedge and increasing the appetite for riskier investments.

In Australia the benchmark ASX200 slipped as investors took profits after a recent rally. Australian commodities stocks were under particular pressure after commodities prices tumbled overnight.

On the local bourse, Skellerup and Nuplex were the second and third biggest decliners after earnings announcements disappointed investors.

Skellerup Holdings, the rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer, fell 6.71 per cent to $1.53 after reporting a rough six months of trading.

Skellerup saw first-half profit fall 17 per cent to $9.5 million after its industrial division weathered the roughest six months of trading in three years.

The company reduced its full-year net profit forecast as a result of the slow start to the year.

Nuplex Industries meanwhile fell 4.03 per cent to $3.33 after the industrial chemicals and resins manufacturer's first-half profit more than halved to $11.5 million, after it booked the writedowns and costs from its Australasian restructure.

Market heavyweight Fletcher Building continued to fall on disappointment over its earlier earnings announcement, despite meeting expectations.

Shares in the country's biggest construction firm fell 3.61 per cent to $8.55 today after hitting $9.32 earlier in the week head of its half year result.

Trade Me shares continued to slip after the company revealed yesterday the number of "general items" sold through its core marketplace had fallen 3.8 per cent and retailers were slow to sell new goods through its website.

Shares in the online auction company fell 1.62 per cent today to $4.24.

Leading the gainers was Precinct Property, the listed property investor which recently changed its name from AMP NZ Office. Earlier this week it reported a higher profit after tax of $23.6 million for the six months ending December, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Precinct shares rose 2.44 per cent to $1.05 today.

AMP, the Australian wealth manager, rose 2.42 per cent to $6.76.

On the currency markets the kiwi dollar fell against the greenback.

The kiwi dollar recently traded at US83.41, down from US83.59 this morning.

On the Trade Weighted Index of major trading partners' currencies it fell to 76.20.

On the crosses, the kiwi recently traded at 81.44 Australian cents, up from A81.36c at 8am, 62.87 euro cents, down from 62.64 euro cents, 54.82 pence down from 54.68p, and 77.95 yen down from 78.37 yen.

The 90 day bank bill rate was unchanged at 2.69 per cent.