The New Zealand sharemarket suffered its biggest single day fall in nearly two years, sliding more than 3 per cent, as Russia goes to war against Ukraine.
The announcement by President Vladimir Putin on Russian television sent jitters through the global markets: "I have decided to conduct a special military operation (in Ukraine)".
He warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to "consequences they have never seen."
The S&P/NZX 50 Index slumped 401.87 points or 3.31 per cent to 11,732.55 – the lowest level since September 25, 2020, when the index sat at 11,797.08.
There were 129 decliners and just 14 gainers across the whole market, with 38.06 million shares worth $146.93 million changing hands.
It was the worst trading day since March 23, 2020, when Covid-19 first struck and the index plummeted 7.59 per cent but, made up a lot of the losses the next day. The other previous big single-day fall was on July 9, 2020, when the index fell 2.28 per cent.
At 5.45pm NZ time, the Australian S&P/NZX 200 Index was down 2.99 per cent to 6990.5 points. On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average neared the correction mark with a 1.38 per cent fall to 33,131.76 points.
The other indices S&P 500, down 1.84 per cent to 4225.5 points, and Nasdaq Composite, down 2.57 per cent to 13,037.49, are already in correction territory.
Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the New Zealand reporting season has been robust but overshadowed by the geopolitical situation.
"Diplomacy has gone out the window with the Russian invasion and any further escalation will make matters worse," Sullivan said. "China, not surprisingly, is siding with Russia, saying unilateral sanctions are never fundamentally effective means to solve problems."
All the leading stocks suffered. Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 90c or 3.2 per cent to $27.25; Mainfreight fell $2.05 or 2.63 per cent to $76; EBOS Group declined $1.79 or 4.37 per cent to $39.14; Fletcher Building shed 22c or 3.2 per cent to $6.65; and Freightways lost 39c or 3.2 per cent to $11.81.
Stocks that rely on the Chinese market were hit. Comvita was down 17c or 4.82 per cent to $3.36, despite reporting a sound half-year result; a2 Milk fell 37c or 6.07 per cent to $5.73; and Synlait Milk declined 24c or 6.88 per cent to $3.25.
Manuka honey producer Comvita's revenue increased 6 per cent to $104.94m and its net profit was steady at $3.49m for the six months ending December. It is paying an interim dividend of 2.5c a share on March 31.
Among the energy companies, Contact was down 25c or 3.03 per cent to $8; Meridian declined 31.5c or 6.27 per cent to $4.71; and Mercury fell 44c or 7.33 per cent to $5.56.
Air New Zealand fell 6.5c or 4.09 per cent to $1.525 after reporting a loss of $376m for the six months ending December, and revenue was down 9 per cent to $1.1b because of the Covid restrictions on travel. Cargo revenue increased 29 per cent to $482m and Air New Zealand is planning a billion-dollar capital raise by the end of March.
Auckland International Airport was down 24c or 3.37 to $6.88 after reporting net profit of $108.8m on revenue of $126.2m for the six months ending December.
Summerset Group Holdings declined 10c to $11.50 after reporting a 43.6 per cent rise in underlying net profit to $141.13m on revenue of $205.35m, up 19 per cent, for the year ending December. It is paying a final dividend of 8.6c a share on March 23. Summerset now has the largest land bank of any retirement village operator in New Zealand.
Fellow retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare fell 52c or 5.47 per cent to $8.99.
Port of Tauranga fell another 11c to $6.19. The port company told the market that Julia Hoare will become the new chair at the end of July, replacing David Pilkington who is retiring. Hoare is deputy chair of a2 Milk and director of Auckland International Airport and Meridian.
Vital Healthcare Property Trust, with 43 properties in New Zealand and Australia worth $3 billion, increased 3c to $3.10 after reporting a 85.86 per cent rise in net profit to $170.23m on revenue of $57.92m, up 6.95 per cent, for the six months ending December. It is paying an interim dividend of 2.37c a share on March 24.
Winton Land declined 5c to $3.40 after reporting its first half-year result as a listed company. Net profit was down 87 per cent to $1.34m on revenue of $44.32m, down 52 per cent, and the company said this was due to the timing of settlements. It has net cash of $250m and gross pre-sales of $738m at February 18. Winton confirmed its full-year revenue guidance of $158m.