12.30 pm

Monday morning trading had nothing in the way of excitement to offer on the New Zealand sharemarket today.

The NZSE-40 capital index eased 2.57 points to 2044.81 shortly after 11am . Negligible turnover of 7.7 million shares, valued at $12.9 million, was topped by Telecom's $4.6 million worth of shares.

The New Zealand market looked set to cede its small amount of positive ground during the day after markets closed weaker offshore on Friday.

On Wall Street on Friday the tech-rich Nasdaq composite index lost 17.22 points, or 0.84 percent, to close at 2029.37.

The Dow Jones average index of 30 industrials fell 33.35 points, or 0.31 percent, to 10,576.65, and the broader Standard and Poor's 500 composite index shed 4.17 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1210.85.

Britain's FTSE-100 fell to a 17-week closing low on Friday after renewed corporate-outlook worries unsettled investors, with telecoms and banks leading the way.

Scott St John of Credit Suisse First Boston said there was little happening so far and not much news expected today.

The bigger moves were on tiny turnover - for example Sky City's 9c gain to 1179 was on 1500 shares. AMP fell 35c to 2515 on light turnover.

"The market was relatively quiet this morning with little in the way of material movement on any volume," Mr St John said.

Telecom fell 5c to 503, tracking aussie counterpart Telstra's 5c fall in New Zealand to 620.

Fletcher Building was down 4c at 265, and discount retailer The Warehouse lost 1c at the open to 565.

Contact Energy continued to star on the market, rising 4c to 335, its highest price since January last year, reflecting the fact that it is likely to benefit from high wholesale energy prices.

Powerco gained 8c to 192 today after it told shareholders on Friday that it had revised its forecast profit for the 2002 year up to $31.6 million, and will increase its dividend.

In November, it had forecast the 2002 year profit at $22.4 million profit.

The company, which claims to be the country's biggest electricity and gas utility by geographic coverage, also said it was close to inclusion on the Stock Exchange's top 40 company index.

Fletcher Challenge spin off Rubicon rose 1c to 78, and Restaurant Brands gained 1c to 159 ahead of its first half result announcement tomorrow.

Forestry giant Carter Holt Harvey was unchanged at 175, ahead of its annual meeting tomorrow, and after its first quarter loss of $34 million.

Fletcher Forests gained 2c to 32, while Fletcher Forests preference shares topped the turnover with 2.6 million shares traded.

There were 32 rises and 21 falls on the 108 stocks traded.