8 Oct 2013

Down day for market as dollar becalmed

6:57 pm on 8 October 2013

The New Zealand share market had a down day, with the NZX Top 50 Index falling 17 points to 4739.

Craigs Investment Partners director and investment advisor Nigel Scott said many market participants were preoccupied by other matters and the threat of America defaulting on its debts was not particularly disturbing investors.

"The market's at the moment getting a lot of administration and communication done around the Meridian IPO (initial public offering) that's upcoming," Mr Scott said.

"We are in a school holiday period. Australia had a Labour Day yesterday. So within the New Zealand market, investment activity I think over the last two weeks has been quite moderate and effectively (the NZX Top 5) Index has been really trading sideways more, given the activity that has seems to happening - negative activity on other bourses around the world.

"Overall, I don't think the overseas market is having too big an effect on New Zealand just currently."

The movement of Metlifecare, which closed up 11 cents at $3.21, was the highlight of the market today, Mr Scott said.

Dollar becalmed

The New Zealand dollar appeared becalmed, trading at much the same levels as yesterday, as it waited for some resolution of the United States' budget woes.

Bank of New Zealand foreign exchange strategist Mike Jones said the longer the impasse continued, the more likely the fallout would start hurting the kiwi.

The New Zealand dollar was always the first to fall in a risk-averse, nervous, off-shore backdrop, so the closer it got to D-Day of 17 October, the bigger the chance it would head lower.

Mr Jones predicted a fall below 80 US cents was likely if investors started to panic and sought out a relatively safe investment.

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 82.94 US cents, 88 Australian cents, 51.58 pence, 0.6116 euro and 80.4 yen.