Acting Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Share market investors expected to be 'gun-shy' until aftershocks end

A large crack in the road in Waiau caused by the earthquake that struck North Canterbury on Monday.
A large crack in the road in Waiau caused by the earthquake that struck North Canterbury on Monday.

New Zealand share market investors are expected to be "gun-shy" and hold off from big trades until they believe the aftershocks from yesterday's earthquake are over.

The NZX 50 was down slightly about 10:30am this morning at 6,735 points - a fall of 0.4 per cent.

"There's not a lot happening out there on the market and I guess the good news is we haven't had any significant aftershocks overnight so fingers crossed we've seen the worst and hopefully things settle down from here but I think from a financial markets point of view people will be a little bit gun-shy until we feel like we've got a little more comfort that the worst is behind us and people can focus on the clean-up and rebuild," said Mark Lister of Craigs Investment Partners.

"No one's going to be really willing to rush in and take big positions while you could get something further come out of the woodwork over the next through days. If things have settled down...potentially you could get a bit of a rebound," he said.

"I'd expect in the next few days people to be a little bit cautious, it's hard to see a lot of real activity unless you get another major aftershock in which case there'll be a bit of downside to the currency and to economic activity and that will flow through to share prices as well but for the time being no news is good news", Lister said.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index yesterday closed up 0.6 per cent at 6,737.76, led by companies that could benefit from earthquake repairs such as Fletcher Building, which closed up nearly 4 per cent at $10.53. The company's shares were down 2c in early trading today.

Tower Insurance was the biggest decliner yesterday in the S&P/NZX 50 Index - ending the day down 7.1 per cent to 79c. Its share price was unchanged in early trading this morning.

- NZ Herald

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