The New Zealand sharemarket closed lower today, reflecting weakness in offshore markets.

The benchmark NZSX-50 closed down 15.737 points, or 0.563 per cent, at 2780.369. There were 35 rises and 41 falls among the 116 stocks traded. Stocks worth $75.4 million traded.

The market gave some ground up on a day in which the Australian market was weaker following losses in the US market.

Fletcher Building fell 16c to 642 after it was reported that Australian building approvals fell 12.5 per cent in May and 22.4 per cent in the year.

"It is always difficult looking at monthly numbers. But when you have stocks that have been priced for a cyclical recovery and you see a bit of a slip they tend to come back a bit," said Peter Sigley, dealer at Goldman Sachs JBWere.

Hellaby Holdings rose 28c to 140 after saying it has knocked its core bank debt back by more than a third to $51m over the last six months.

Mr Sigley said the announcement was reassuring to the market.

Pumpkin Patch rose 2c to 151 in a continued investor endorsement of its retreat from the US market.

NZX rose 29c to 749 and Rakon rose 5c to 145. Both recovered weakness on Tuesday.

Contact fell 5c to 580 and TrustPower fell 2c to 765.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances lost 1c to 66 even though it has successfully raised capital. It announced the appointment of two Haier directors to its board today.

Telecom was unchanged at 273 after falling yesterday on concerns about regulation.

Port of Tauranga fell 7c to 608 and Mainfreight fell 6c to 416. Infratil fell 2c to 172. SkyCity fell 5c to 263. AMP fell 15c to 595 and Westpac fell 50c to 2450.

Michael Hill rose 3c to 63 and Hallenstein Glassons rose 9c to 253.

Lion Nathan rose 17c to 1442 and Cavalier rose 4c to 184. ING Medical Property Trust was unchanged at 121 after announcing a property sale.

Auckland Airport rose 1c to 162 and Air NZ was unchanged at 90.

Genesis Research and Development rose 5.5c to 15 after saying it is confident it can close a deal with an overseas investor to help fund its research into gene silencing technology.

US stocks fell on Tuesday as an unexpected drop in consumer confidence cooled recent optimism about an economic recovery, but Wall Street still closed out its best quarter in a decade.

The drop in the Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence in June suggested that the 18-month-long recession had yet to loosen its grip on the US economy.

"Consumer confidence is the excuse du jour for the latest market move," said Tom Alexander, head of Alexander Trading, in Savannah, Georgia.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 82.38 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 8447.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 7.91 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 919.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 9.02 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 1835.04.

- NZPA