The New Zealand sharemarket continued its bumpy start to the year, falling nearly half a per cent, as it looks for direction from an uncertain Wall Street.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 61.2 points or 0.47 per cent to 12,831.73 – its fourth fall in five trading days this year.
There were 98 decliners and 39 gainers over the whole market and trading improved with 31.27 million shares worth $130.86m changing hands.
The United States markets have opened the year weak with a sell-off in the high-growth technology companies as investors switch to cyclical value stocks on fears that inflation will slow the economy.
Greg Main, Jarden Wealth Management adviser, said the local market is looking for cues from offshore. The US market has had quite a step back this year and it is going into an interesting period.
"There are competing forces. The latest US reporting season is coming up and analysts still expect earnings growth from S&P 500 companies, as much as 20 per cent.
"But all eyes are on interest rates and how many times the Federal Reserve will hike them. Bond rates and the equity market have come down and it's a tougher sell for investors. Interestingly, the US markets did recover slightly late in trading."
The Nasdaq Composite snapped a four-day losing streak after nearing a 10 per cent correction from its all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are each about 3 per cent below their peak levels.
The Dow Jones was down 0.45 per cent to 36,068.87; S&P 500 declined 0.14 per cent to 4670.29; and Nasdaq Composite picked up 0.046 per cent to 14,942.83. The S&P/ASX 200 Index had fallen 0.7 per cent to 7394.6 at 5.30pm NZ time.
At home, there were random movements on the light trading. Contact Energy was down 23c or 2.85 per cent to $7.85; Mercury declined 14c or 2.27 per cent to $6.02; and Serko fell 29c or 4.46 per cent to $6.21.
Retirement village operators Summerset Group Holdings declined 30c or 2.17 per cent to $13.55, and Ryman Healthcare was up 6c to $12.02.
Retailers Briscoe Group was down 9c to $6.70, Michael Hill International fell 6c or 3.92 per cent to $1.47; and Kathmandu Holdings declined 4c or 2.74 per cent to $1.42.
Property companies Argosy was down 4.5c or 2.83 per cent to $1.545, and Stride decreased 4c or 1.87 per cent to $2.10.
Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare decreased 17c to $31.95; Mainfreight was down $1.32 to $91.88; Vulcan Steel l lost another 46c or 4.32 per cent to $10.20; Vista Group shed 8c or 3.54 per cent to $2.218; Chorus declined 8c to $7.02; and new listing Trade Window dropped another 13c or 4.68 per cent to $2.65.
Other decliners were SkyCity Entertainment, dropping 6c or 2.01 per cent to $2.92; Comvita, down 6c to $3.63; DGL Group decreasing 5c to $3.05; EROAD falling 10c or 2.02 per cent to $4.85; Rakon dropping 5c or 2.27 per cent to $2.15; Scott Technology losing 7c or 1.93 per cent to $3.56; and T&G Global down 5c to $2.90.
After a sharp fall the day before, one of the market's top performers EBOS Group recovered 59c or 1.76 per cent to $40.44.
Auckland International Airport collected 9c to $7.74; Fonterra Shareholders' Fund was up 5c to $3.69, Restaurant Brands increased 35c or 2.46 per cent to $14.60; and Move Logistics gained 4c or 2.541 per cent to $1.70.
QEX Logistics has been censured and fined $150,000 for breaching NZX listing rules. Its trading on the sharemarket is presently suspended.