Shares fall as heavyweights hit
The New Zealand sharemarket continued to fall today as Mainfreight suffered further losses and Pumpkin Patch followed suit, despite yesterday's positive economic growth figures.
The benchmark NZX50 index fell 7.7 points or 0.2 per cent to 4334.80.
Fifteen stocks fell, and eight rose, despite yesterday's figures of a higher-than-expected growth rate of 1.5 per cent for the December quarter.
Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, was the biggest decliner, dropping 2.5 per cent to open at $1.17.
Mainfreight, the international trucking and logistics company, continued its decline, falling 2.5 per cent to $11. The firm warned in a trading update to the NZX yesterday, that operating earnings would be flat for the full financial year, with the second half weaker than the first six months.
Mainfreight figures showed its newly acquired European operation had not delivered returns as quickly as anticipated.
Securities market operator NZX dropped 0.8 per cent to trade at $1.32. Steel and Tube Holdings, the construction materials supplier, also moved down 0.8 per cent to $2.66.
Leading the gainers was OceanaGold Corporation, the miner which operates the Macraes and Reefton goldfields, which gained 4.7 per cent to open at $3.35 following the global rise in gold prices, the result of continued uncertainty in the eurozone.
The Warehouse Group, the country's biggest listed retailer, opened up 2.6 per cent to trade at $3.60.
Software provider Diligent Board Member Services continued its gain from yesterday to rise a further 1 per cent to $.6.36. Summerset Group, the retirement firm, maintained its upward creep to gain 0.4 per cent, to trade at $2.59.
On the global equity markets, crude oil and the euro fell yesterday on fears over signs the economic downturn in Europe is deepening.
The European Union has given Cyprus until Monday to come up with the 5.8 billion euros (NZ$9b) it needs to clinch an international bailout or face the collapse of its financial system, or face expulsion from the eurozone.
Upbeat United States reports on housing, future economic activity and business conditions failed to lift investor sentiment.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.5 per cent, at 14,446.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.6 per cent, at 1549.22, and the Nasdaq down 0.8 per cent, at 3227.73.
European shares fell after Germany, the region's leading economy, showed signs of fatigue and French businesses turned in their worst performance in four years in March.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed down 0.7 per cent at 1190.72. The MSCI's all-country world equity index fell 0.4 per cent to 358.20.
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