Market close: Sharemarkets on tenterhooks as Russias Ukraine attacks escalate

The New Zealand sharemarket and the others overseas remain on tenterhooks as the Russian invasion of Ukraine escalates, commodity prices surge and inflation keeps going higher.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index had a choppy session, trading between 12,221.35 and 12,076.4 and closing down 69.62 points or 0.57 per cent to 12,141.77. The index finished the topsy-turvy week with a gain of more than 1.8 per cent but it has fallen 6.8 per cent so far this year.

There were 98 decliners and 42 gainers over the whole market on steady volume of 37.61 million shares worth $163.26 million.

“It’s a tough time for the markets and investors,” said Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr. “The surge in commodity prices all around the world isn’t helpful with higher inflation further down the track.

“The central banks have a real balancing act on their hands – they now have to think about raising interest rates in the face of a deteriorating global economic outlook.

“The invasion in Ukraine could drag on longer and we now have a new dimension of nuclear plants coming under fire. It’s all dire news for the markets,” Stratful said.

Wall Street had another fall, led by the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite, which declined 1.56 per cent to 13,537.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was steadier, down 0.29 per cent to 33,794.66, and S&P 500 decreased 0.53 per cent to 4363.49.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 0.84 per cent to 7091.2 at 5.45pm NZ time.

The crude oil price surged to US$112 a barrel overnight but since fell back to more than US$108. United States Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said a US$10 a barrel price hike slows economic growth by around 0.1 per cent.

It was a quiet day on the local market front. Fisher and Paykel Healthcare declined 15c to $27.85; Contact Energy was down 6c to $8.12; Freightways shed 27c or 2.17 per cent to $12.20; and Restaurant Brands decreased 20c to $14.50.

Auckland International Airport dropped another 13c to $7.19; Ryman Healthcare was down 13c to $9.70; Mainfreight shed $1.30 to $82.50; a2 Milk declined 6c to $5.80; and Chorus decreased 9c to $7.37.

Michael Hill International declined 4c or 2.72per cent to $1.43; T&G Global was down 7c or 2.42 per cent to $2.82; Vista Group fell 7c or 3.5 per cent to $1.93; EROAD decreased 7c or 1.85 per cent to $3.72; Third Age Health Services shed 6c or 2.17 per cent; Pacific Edge lost 4c or 4.21 per cent to 91c; and My Food Bag continued to slide, down 3c or 3.06 per cent to 95c.

Briscoe Group climbed 16c or 2.74 per cent to $6; transport and logistics software firm TradeWindow rose 13c or 6.95 per cent to $2; and Accordant Group was up 5c or 2.78 per cent to $1.85.

Comvita gained 10c or 2.9 per cent to $3.55; Seeka was up 9c or 1.8 per cent to $5.10; Scales Corporation collected 10c or 2.06 per cent to $4.95; NZME increased 3c or 1.94 per cent to $1.58; and ArborGen Holdings increased 1.5c or 6.82 per cent to 23.5c.

Genesis Energy was up 2.5c to $2.895 after completing a $125m, six-year green bond offer with an interest rate of 4.17 per cent. The bonds will be issued on March 14.

Promisia Healthcare told the market it has organised the $13m finance to buy Christchurch rest home Aldwins House, which caters for up to 145 residents. The purchase is subject to shareholders’ approval, and Promisia’s share price was unchanged at 0.001c.

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