The New Zealand sharemarket reversed its earlier gains to end weaker and well short of its recent record high as the reality of higher bond yields in a post US-election world started to sink in.

The local market's 0.5 per cent decline was in stark contrast to the American market, as post-election euphoria drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its highest ever point on the back of the surprise win for Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has promised to spend up large to get the US economy going again.

At today's closing level of 6697, the benchmark NZX-50 index is now 11.5 per cent down from its record high of 7571, struck in September.

High-yielding defensive stocks - which have been at the forefront of the market's record-breaking rally in recent years - bore the brunt of selling.


In that camp were Spark, which dropped nine cents (2.65 per cent) to finish at $3.30 and Auckland International Airport, which lost 21c or (3.3 per cent) to finish at $6.11.

The US share market continued to rally on the back of a win for Trump in US presidential election, the Dow ending 218.19 points, or 1.2 per cent higher at 18,807.88 after hitting an all-time high of 18,873.66 earlier in the session.

The broader S&P 500 index was just 1 per cent off its record.

"When you compare us with the US our market is still lagging in a big way," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

"That's a pretty serious gap in performance," he said. "We have not seen the resurgence in our market at all," he said.

Analysts said the likely reason for the gap in performance was the high proportion of yield-sensitive stocks in the local market, which were starting to look less attractive.

Suddenly the US 10 year bond yield - which is seen as a key bellwether for borrowing costs around the world - has taken centre stage, hitting a 10-month high of 2.15 per cent compared with just 1.86 per cent before the election.

With US 10 year yield at their highest point since January - the allure of yield-sensitive New Zealand stocks has diminished.

"The large, interest rate-sensitive parts of the New Zealand and Australian share markets have been sold off," said Craig Stent, a research analyst at Harbour Asset Management.

"Property companies and utilities are weak, and it seems that international investors are selling lines of companies in New Zealand, so there is money going out of the local market," he said.

In the US, banks and health-care shares surged on bets that a Trump administration would roll back regulatory scrutiny of those industries and industrial shares rallied on Republican plans to boost infrastructure spending.

Technology shares plummeted, with losses ballooning in the biggest names.

Utility and real-estate stocks in the US were also singled out for selling, also based on the spike in US 10 year bond yields, which have been driven higher by expectations that Trump's protectionism and fiscal expansion plans would boost inflation.