Cyprus bailout dents risk appetite

22:12, Mar 17 2013

New Zealand shares fell into the red at the open after the European Union's €10 billion ($15.8b) bailout of Cyprus dented investors' risk appetites.

The NZX 50 Index fell 15.96 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 4371.10 in the first 30 minutes of trade. Metlifecare led the decline, while Steel & Tube rose.

Saturday's decision to bail out debt-laden Cyprus banks caused turmoil in the delicate eurozone.

Cypriots made a run on the banks in reaction to the controversial conditions of the bailout, which included a 10 per cent tax on deposits.

Without the bailout package, the island nation faced bankruptcy and expulsion from the European Union.

Stock in retirement village operator Metlifecare fell 2.2 per cent to $3.15 after a major selldown in rival firm Summerset.

Majority shareholder Quadrant Private Equity requested Summerset be placed in a trading halt for the next two days as it moves 40 million shares, or roughly a third of its stake, through the market.

New Zealand Oil & Gas, the energy exploration and production firm, fell 1.1 per cent to 88 cents. Trade Me, the online auctioneer, fell 1.1 per cent to $4.69.

The country's largest construction firm, Fletcher Building, fell 1 per cent to $9.06. Contact Energy, the country's biggest listed electricity company, fell 0.9 per cent to $5.54.

Construction materials supplier Steel and Tube rose 3.5 per cent to $2.69.

OceanaGold, the operator of the Reefton and Macraes goldfields, rose 1.6 per cent to $3.22 as gold prices rose overnight.

Clothing chain Hallenstein Glasson rose 0.9 per cent to $5.55. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the manufacturer of breathing masks and respirators, rose 0.8 per cent to $2.62.

Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing retailer, rose 0.8 per cent to $1.33.