Key Points:

The New Zealand sharemarket tumbled to a new five-year low in early trading this morning, following further big falls on equity markets in the United States.

Major indexes in the US overnight fell to 12-year lows, with tech stocks leading the way down.

The benchmark NZX-50 index was down more than 2 per cent at about noon,
but has since recovered slightly, now down 1.7 per cent - a 44 point fall to 2493.

Contact Energy is down 3 per cent, falling 19 cents to $5.86. The biggest company on the NZX, Telecom has seen its share price fall 10 cents today to $2.36.

Contact reported a 31 per cent fall in underlying half-year earnings after tax to $79.9 million.

Pumpkin Patch shares are up 9c to 92 cents each after reporting a 7 per cent fall in half-year net profit to $9.5m, on operating revenue up 3 per cent to $211m.

Fletcher Building shares are down 9 cents to $5.31.

The biggest early losers in today's early trading included Nuplex down 25c to $1.00, Cavalier Corp down 10c to $1.40, Infratil down 7c to $1.62, Sanford down 5c to $5.20, and Port of Tauranga down 5c to $5.30.

Shares losing 4c early included Mainfreight to $3.60, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare to $3.28, NZ Oil & Gas to $1.20, and Fisher & Paykel Appliances to 51.

In the US, the Dow Jones index provisionally ended down 3.4 per cent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 3.5 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 3.7 per cent.

- NZPA