25 Mar 2014

Chinese data hits shares, dollar

7:02 am on 25 March 2014

Weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data has contributed to the NZX Top 50 Index closing down 6 points to 5118.

Forsyth Barr investment adviser Dave Schaper said the market lost territory through the day, much of which was due to the Chinese HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers index falling to an eight-month low in March.

"It came in a bit weaker than expected ... so that's put a bit of a dampener on Asian markets for the afternoon," Mr Schaper said.

However, Kathmandu shares rose 28 cents to $3.62 after it lifted its first-half net profit nearly 9.9 percent to $11.4 million, and Hallenstein Glassons shares closed up 20 cents to $3.

On the down side, Contact Energy shares fell 8 cents to $5.22 and Sky City's dropped 10 cents to $3.88.

Dollar weaker

The New Zealand dollar was slightly weaker against the currencies of all the country's major trading partners with the exception of the Australian dollar, against which it was slightly firmer.

Bancorp Treasury Services senior client advisor Peter Cavanaugh said disappointing manufacturing data from China weighed on the currency and had caused people to revise downwards their gross domestic product for China for the March quarter.

"The Australian dollar was hit more so than us, so we're seeing a slight recovery in the New Zealand-Australia exchange rate but in the scheme of things, New Zealand dollar movement since Friday has been relatively minor," Mr Cavanaugh said.

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was buying 85.41 US cents, 94 Australian cents, 51.77 pence, 0.6185 euro and 87.45 yen.