NZ sharemarket steady after Cypriot vote

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 12:17 20/03/2013

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The New Zealand sharemarket edged up today after lawmakers in Cyprus rejected plans to tax deposits as a condition of the €10 billion ($15.8 billion) bailout of Cypriot banks.

The benchmark NZX 50 rose 2.94 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 4347.98 in the first 30 minutes of trade. Twelve companies gained, 10 declined, and 28 remained unchanged.

The controversial conditions of the bailout, which would have seen depositors lose 10 per cent of their account balances in a one-off levy, was rejected by Cypriot lawmakers overnight, with 36 votes against the bill, 19 abstentions and zero in favour.

Cyprus will now have to produce an alternative plan for raising the money, leaving the eurozone on edge.

While the New Zealand sharemarket appeared relatively unaffected, the rejection of the bailout conditions did not do enough to reassure the global markets, which closed with mixed results.

Volatility saw United States stocks gyrating between solid losses and break-even.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones closed up 0.03 per cent at 14,455.82, but the Nasdaq composite index was down 0.26 per cent to 3229.10.

European shares closed 0.4 per cent lower, and the London FTSE 100 slipped 0.3 per cent.

In New Zealand, the market edged higher with Skellerup Holdings leading the gainers. Stock in the rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer rose 2.1 per cent to $2.47.

Business support service Xero followed suit, continuing its upward trend with a 1.5 per cent gain to $10.81.

Fast food franchise operator Restaurant Brands New Zealand rose 1.1 per cent to $2.84, and Fisher and Paykel healthcare, makers of breathing masks and respirators, rose 0.78 per cent to $2.58.

Retirement village operator Summerset Group also edged up 0.4 per cent to $2.55 after it ended a trading halt yesterday in order to move about a third of its majority shareholder's stock through a network of brokers.

At the other end Warehouse Group, the country's biggest listed retailer, fell 3.9 per cent to trade at $3.66, and investment holding company Guinness Peat Group fell 0.8 per cent to 61 cents, after experiencing a rise yesterday due to a share buy-back by the company.

Jeweller Michael Hill International dropped 0.7 per cent to $1.41, and New Zealand Oil and Gas, the energy exploration and production firm, fell 0.5 per cent to 87c.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund dipped 0.3 per cent to $6.99 after supply issues due to the North Island drought pushed prices to a five-year high at last night's online dairy auction.

Maximum supply, or the measure of how much dairy product Fonterra has for sale, was just 16,320 tonnes with a total of 15,994 tonnes sold. That volume has halved in the space of a month.

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The average winning price at the auction rose to US$4683 ($5685) per metric tonne, up from US$4216.

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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