Shares fall in Asia-wide sell-off amid disappointment over Europe

New Zealand shares fell yesterday, paced by Telecom, which has failed in an attempt to overturn a record $12 million fine for historic antitrust violations. NZX fell after reporting a decline in the value of cash market trading.

The NZX 50 index fell 16.11 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 3548. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 11 rose and 15 were unchanged. Turnover was $124.4 million.

Telecom, the largest company on the exchange, fell 0.7 per cent to $2.65. The telecommunications company failed to overturn a record $12 million fine imposed for breaching competition law by misusing its market power. "It's immaterial quite frankly when you look at the size of the company," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Separately, Telecom announced its head of retail Alan Gourdie will leave at the end of October, just two months into the company's new era under a new chief executive. New Zealand was swept up in an Asia-wide sell-off amid disappointment European Central Bank president Mario Draghi failed to deliver immediate steps to help shore up Europe's debt crisis.

Shares in NZX fell 1.7 per cent to $1.17 after the exchange regular announced its cash market trading rose in volume while falling in value last month. That reflects a global trend driven by increased use of automated trading that lets computers decide how to execute trades at the best levels.

Australian lender Westpac fell 1.9 per cent to $29.97 along with rival ANZ, down 1.1 per cent to $30.27.

Contact Energy, the biggest power company on the NZX, shed 1.4 per cent to $4.93.

The decline was led by PGG Wrightson, down 3 per cent to 31c.

The biggest gainer was would-be bank Heartland New Zealand, up 1.9 per cent to 54c. That was followed by Cavalier, New Zealand's only listed carpet market, rising 1.3 per cent to $1.60.

Briscoe Group, the homeware and sporting goods retailer, rose 2.3 per cent to $1.82. The stock has gained 31 per cent this year. Its result is due to be released on September 7.

- BusinessDesk

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