The New Zealand sharemarket notched up a second loss for the week as it followed offshore markets lower.
The benchmark S&P/NZX50 Index closed down 0.4 per cent, or 61.2 points, at 12,831.73 on Tuesday, following a 0.6 per cent decline to start the week.
Forsyth Barr institutional equities director David Price said trading volumes were still pretty light after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“It’s better than other days, but that said it’s a fairly soft comparison.
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“Not much in the way of company news today, we’re a couple of weeks away from their reporting season.”
Top stock Fisher & Paykel Healthcare closed down 0.5 per cent at $31.95. Among other blue chips, Ryman Healthcare rose 0.5 per cent to $12.02, Contact Energy fell 2.8 per cent to $7.85, Meridian was down 0.1 per cent at $4.61, and Mainfreight fell 1.4 per cent at $91.88.
Ebos made a small recovery, closing up 1.4 per cent at $40.44, as did Warehouse Group, up 1.4 per cent at $3.60 following an 11 per cent slump on Monday.
Offshore markets were weaker, with the usual suspects weighing on sentiment, Price said, particularly interest rates at present.
“We’ve got the Fed tomorrow morning, and we don’t have anything here domestically for another couple of weeks in terms of inflation data.”
High inflation is taking a toll on American families, United States Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is due to say in remarks to be delivered at a congressional hearing on Tuesday (US time).
US inflation hit the highest level in four decades, and on Wednesday the US government is expected to reveal that consumer prices rose 7.1 per cent in the last year, up from November’s 6.8 per cent annual increase.
The Senate Banking Committee will consider Powell’s nomination to a second four-year term.
Across the Tasman, Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index was down 42 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 7404.4 in late afternoon trading.
Earlier on Wall Street, the S&P 500 was down 2 per cent at one point in the session until a late-afternoon burst of buying left the benchmark index with a loss of just 0.1 per cent, or 6.74 points, at 4670.29.
The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 per cent, or 62.79 points to 26,068.87 having been down 1.6 per cent.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq recovered from a 2.7 per cent decline to close down 6.9 points, less than 0.1 per cent, at 14,942.83.
The latest pullback followed a sell-off last week as investors shifted holdings in anticipation that the US central bank will raise interest rates this year, among other moves aimed at lowering inflation. Wall Street is trying to get a better read on when and by how much the Fed will lift rates.
Higher interest rates make the stocks of expensive tech companies and other pricey growth companies less attractive to investors.
Big technology stocks have an outsized influence on the S&P 500 because of their huge size. Coming into the year, the technology sector represented 29.2 per cent of the S&P 500.
– With AP