The prices of listed property trust fell today after the Tax Working Group yesterday recommended the Government consider a land tax and removal of depreciation allowances on buildings.

Overall, the New Zealand sharemarket outperformed many Asian markets affected by concerns that China will put the brakes on its accelerating economy.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 1.961 points, or 0.061 per cent, at 3225.289. Turnover was worth $112 million, care of volume in Telecom and Telstra. There were 24 rises and 58 falls among the 112 stocks traded.

Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene, said a sell off in listed property trusts was a feature of the session.

"Investors are a bit nervous about potential taxation changes that could have an affect on property," he said. "They are just lightening their holdings in those trusts," he said.

AMP Office Trust fell 2c to 74, ING Property Trust fell 1c to 76 and Goodman Property Trust fell 2c to 100. Property for Industry fell 3c to 115.

Otherwise a period of calm before the storm is continuing on the sharemarket ahead of the profit reporting season here in February and after the market closed Nuplex issued an upgrade to its profit guidance.

Mr Williamson said Fletcher Building performed well in afternoon trading and closed up 12c at 815.

"I think the profit-taking that we've experienced in the stock is over. It is now rebounding as the selling has lightened up," he said.

Freightways eased 9c to 337 and a substantial shareholder notice today revealed that ACC has decreased its stake in the company to 5.4 per cent from 6.41 per cent.

Affco rose 1c to 38 after announcing chief executive Stuart Wilson will leave the company in April without saying why.

On a day in which strong retail sales data was reported The Warehouse rose 3c to 382 and Hallenstein Glasson rose 14c to 335.

Infratil eased 5c to 163 and Cavalier eased 5c to 280.

Auckland Airport eased a cent to 189 and Air NZ eased a cent to 189.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances eased a cent to 64 and the healthcare stock rose 5c to 335.

Nuplex was down 1c to 305 and advised after the market closed that its first-half result will be stronger than previously anticipated.

SkyTV eased 5c to 512.

NZ Refining eased 7c to 402 and NZOG rose 2c to 163.

Telecom eased 2c to 244.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst drop of 2010 due to fears that China's curbs on bank lending might jeopardise the global recovery, while IBM's outlook sparked caution about the technology sector.

The Dow fell 1.1 per cent to end unofficially at 10,603.15, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.1 per cent to 1138.04, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.3 per cent to 2291.25.