12 Sep 2016

NZX takes biggest dive in more than a year

7:53 pm on 12 September 2016

The New Zealand sharemarket has had its biggest one-day fall in more than a year as the prospects of a rate rise in the United States as soon as next week spooked investors.

NZX in Auckland.

A file photo of the NZX building in Auckland: The index closed down 2.5 percent today, its biggest one-day fall since August 2015. Photo: 123RF

The benchmark top-50 index closed down 2.5 percent - a fall of 188 points to 7280 - with the biggest stocks, including Auckland Airport and Fletcher Building, leading the market lower.

The market fall was the biggest single session decline since late August 2015 and followed a slide on US markets on Friday, amid speculation that the US central bank might raise its key lending rate next week.

That sparked a rise in wholesale interest rates and has prompted investors throughout the Asia-Pacific region to sell risky assets such as stocks.

New Zealand's sharemarket hit a lifetime high last week and has gained nearly 20 percent so far this year, making it one of the best performing in the developed world.

However, analysts say the local market has been looking stretched and overpriced and a pullback was to be expected.

At the same time, data being released this week is expected to show New Zealand's economy was growing strongly in the June quarter.