19 May 2012

NZ dollar drops, share market edges up

10:02 am on 19 May 2012

New Zealand's dollar exchange rate against the US currency fell below 76 US cents for the first time in six months on Friday.

The New Zealand dollar fell three-quarters of a cent against its American counterpart to US75.6 cents before gaining ground to close at US76.7 cents.

BNZ currency strategist Mike Jones says that's the lowest the Kiwi has been since December last year.

"We're seeing ongoing flights to safety across global markets as fear and uncertainty over a possible Greek exit from the euro zone takes hold.

"That flight to safety is causing investors to flee the New Zealand dollar and buy US dollars and yen."

On the share market, the benchmark NZX50 gained 7 points to close at 3521 on total turnover of $84 million.

Friday's trading finished with Fletcher Building up 9 cents for the day at $6.32, Telecom up 1 cent at $2.54 and Sky Network TV up 13 cents at $5.20. AMP rose 2 cents to $5.13.

Ryman Healthcare surged 9 cents to $3.34 after record annual profits of $120.8 million for the year ending March, an increase of 21% on last year.

Unchanged on the day's trading were Hallenstein Glasson at $4.00, Tower at $1.64 and Chorus at $3.18.

Contact Energy fell 3 cents to $4.87, Sky City Entertainment fell 3 cents to $3.56, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 1 cents at $2.38 and The Warehouse fell 9 cents to $2.59.

Rakon slumped 7% (5 cents) to 49 cents after it lost $420,000 in the year to the end of March, a turnaround from the $8.5 million profit it reported a year earlier.

Goodman Property Trust fell 1 cent to $1.025 even though profits rose 10% to $40.5 million in the year to March compared with the same period a year ago.

Briscoe Group rose 13 cents to $1.69 after annoucing it is giving its shareholders a 21 million dollar bonus dividend.

The New Zealand dollar finished the trading day at 76.70 US cents, 77.08 Australian cents, 48.20 pence, 61.58 yen, 0.6020 euro.

The trade-weighted index (TWI), a basket of currencies used by key trading partners, was at 69.47 points.