The New Zealand sharemarket, comprising a lot of defensive dividend stocks, remained relatively calm in the face of incredible volatility overnight on Wall Street – falling just over 1 per cent.
The leading United States indices, with high-growth stocks valued on future earnings, plunged by as much as 5 per cent – after losing all the good gains and more from the day before.
The steady S&P/NZX 50 Index even increased later in the day, with US futures slightly up, and closed at 11,609.38, down 138.19 points or 1.18 per cent. The index was down 2.2 per cent for the week and nearly 11 per cent so far this year – certainly in bear market territory.
There were 120 decliners and just 22 gainers over the whole on volume of 334.35 million share transactions worth $144.79 million.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 1063 points or 3.12 per cent to 32,997.97; S&P 500 declined 3.56 per cent to 4146.87; and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite fell 4.99 per cent to 12,317.69.
They were the biggest single-day falls this year as investors were spooked by a stagnating economy and inflated prices (stagflation) while the central bank pushed ahead with interest rate rises.
Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said the local market was calm relative to the storm offshore.
"It's a bear market and things will be choppy. There was no sign of panic here. Our market has a different make-up with defensive growth stocks.
"We didn't rally like the US the day before and we didn't sell-off to the same extent today. In this case, our market has the right mix in a challenging environment," said Solly.
Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was one of the few gainers, rising 45c or 2.09 per cent to $21.95 after an Australian broker made a buy recommendation. Mainfreight gained 43c to $80.29.
Most of the other leading stocks were down. Auckland International Airport declined 23c or 2.92 per cent to $7.65; Ebos Group shed 58c to $41.80; Spark decreased 9c or 1.81 per cent to $4.89; Chorus lost 9.5c to $7.185; Ryman Healthcare fell 15c to $8.82; and Summerset Group Holdings was down 27c or 2.39 per cent to $11.03.
Dividend-paying energy stocks Meridian declined 14c or 2.94 per cent to $4.63; Contact was down 16c or 2 per cent to $7.85; Mercury fell 17 or 2.87 per cent to $5.75; Manawa (formerly Trustpower) shed 15c or 2.11 per cent to $6.95 and Genesis decreased 6c or 2.16 per cent to $2.72.
Retailers The Warehouse Group declined 6c to $3.34; and Briscoe Group fell 17c or 2.86 per cent to $5.78.
Freightways was down 20c to $11.81; Delegat Group declined 25c or 2 per cent to $12.25; Fonterra Shareholders' Fund fell 10c or 3.4 per cent to $2.84; NZME decreased 6c or 4.17 per cent to $1.38; and Synlait was down 8c or 2.33 per cent to $3.36.
Transtasman chemicals business DGL Group fell 20c or 4.94 per cent to $3.85, after a 10c slide the day before. Solly said there was an unfortunate series of events over comments about My Food Bag, and the Australian Stock Exchange suggested the DGL behaviour was inappropriate and investors are obviously not happy.
Other decliners were Comvita down 8c or 2.37 per cent to $3.30; Infratil decreasing 19c or 2.28 per cent to $8.15; and Rakon falling 4c or 2.37 per cent to $1.65.
Private Land and Property Fund, managed by Booster Investment Management, rose 8c or 6.84 per cent to $1.25 after obtaining an increased valuation of 5 per cent or $1.1m for its gold kiwifruit and lemon orchard in Kerikeri. This represents a 1 per cent change to the fund's net asset value.
Other gainers were Evolve Education up 6c or 8.57 per cent to 76c, and Chatham Rock Phosphate collecting 1c or 3.85 per cent to 27c.
Kiwi Property's private plan change for the new 53ha Drury Town Centre site has been approved by Auckland Council. Kiwi will develop a transit-oriented, mixed-use community housing 60,000 people over the next 25 years. Kiwi's share price was down 2.5c or 2.38 per cent to $1.025.
Marsden Maritime Holdings has signed an expression of interest with the Northland Development Corporation to buy land on the Hatea River waterfront in Whangarei for $10m and lease it to a developer for a new conference and events centre. Marsden will also develop a marina and electric ferry terminal along the front of the site. Marsden's share price was unchanged at $6.05.
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand has appointed Stuart Harrison as its new managing director, moving from chief financial officer of Australia-based Cornerstone Healthcare Property Fund. Millennium's share price was unchanged at $2.41.