Telecom, Fonterra shares dip

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 18:25 29/01/2013

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The New Zealand sharemarket fell slightly in today's trading, with a mixed market pulled down slightly by drops in two of the country's biggest companies, Telecom and Fonterra.

The NZX Top 50 Index was down 4 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 4,200.28 at the market's close.

Sixteen stocks were up, 14 fell and 15 were unchanged.

Meanwhile, at 5pm the kiwi dollar traded at US83.56 cents, up from US83.16 cents in the morning, while on the Trade Weighted Index of major trading partners' currencies it eased to 75.20 from 75.30 in the morning.

Oceana Gold Corporation led the decliners down 2.7 per cent to $3.25, followed by Chorus Limited which fell 1.7 per cent to $2.82, and Steel & Tube Holdings down 1.5 per cent to $2.58.

Telecom fell 1.4 per cent to $2.35, Mainfreight was down 1.1 per cent to $11.66 and Restaurant Brands slumped 0.7 per cent to $2.77.

Outside the Top 50 Fonterra's stock fell 1.1 per cent to $7.05.

Westpac Bank led the gainers, up 3.2 per cent to $35.50, and was followed by ANZ Bank up 2.4 per cent to $33.10 and PGG Wrightson up 2.3 per cent to 44 cents.

Property for Industry was up 1.6 per cent to $1.22, Telstra Corporation rose 1.5 per cent to $5.81 and Heartland New Zealand surged 1.4 per cent to 69 cents.

First NZ Capital's head of institutional equities James Lee said activity on the market had stalled with little corporate news and results reporting season coming up.

A move in Telecom was not fundamental but reflected investors' demand for liquidity at the start of the year.

"There's not a lot driving the market but obviously the Fonterra stock price was a little bit weaker again today as it takes time for that [milk contamination] news to work through the markets.

"There was no real corporate news in the market and the currency is back where it was the other day, so the market's still really just going sideways into reporting season."

At 5pm the kiwi dollar traded at US83.56 cents, up from US83.16 cents in the morning, but only marginally down from 24 hours prior.

ASB's head of institutional foreign exchange sales Tim Kelleher said the dollar had recovered  during the day on favourable trade balance figures announced this morning.

"We also saw a little bit of bargain hunting by some exporters first thing as well and then we've had the government saying that the economic outlook remains strong - still on target to reach the surplus in 2014/2015.

"Last night was a bit of a clean-out to the downside and we've seen some buyers re-emerge today."

Kelleher suggested an upside of between 83.80 to 84 US cents overnight.

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On the crosses at 5pm the New Zealand dollar traded at 80.09 Australian cents, up from 79.88 cents this morning, and rose to 76.02 Japanese yen from 75.5 this morning. The kiwi rose to 62.12 euro cents from 61.83 this morning, and was also up to 53.23 pence from 53.01 earlier.

The 90 Day Bank Bill rate was 2.69 per cent.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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