1 Apr 2014

Shares slip over China concerns

7:00 pm on 1 April 2014

Concerns over a slowdown in China's economy are contributing to a weaker share market, the NZX Top 50 Index sinking 17 points to 5123.

Fat Prophets head of research Greg Smith said concerns about a slowdown in China's economy were weighing on investors' minds.

Figures released on Tuesday showed China's official Purchasing Managers' Index was barely positive in March, rising to 50.3 points from February's 50.2. Above 50 indicates expansion, while below 50 signifies contraction.

That data had showed there were still nerves over the expansion of economic growth globally, and that had been the case for the past three or four months, Mr Smith said.

"It's kept investors on a bit of a knife-edge, and I think that's also played through to some profit taking."

Xero shares fell 30 cents to $39.15, while Diligent's shares dropped 5 cents to $4.10.

Among other tech-related stocks, Pacific Edge fell 8 cents to $1.27 and Wynyard fell 8 cents to $2.85.

Dollar rises

The New Zealand dollar rose about a fifth of a cent against the US dollar.

Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer said comments by the Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen caused the rise.

"We had the jump in the Kiwi-US exchange rate overnight and that was caused by the comments from the Fed chair, Janet Yellen, who appeared to backtrack from her previous comments a couple of weeks ago," Mr Speizer said.

"Back then, she suggested that US interest rates could start rising about six months after the tapering ... finished.

"This time she said the labour market does remain weak and they want to keep interest rates low for quite some time."

That meant the equity markets in the US and elsewhere "jumped for joy" and the positive risk sentiment carried over to the Kiwi-US exchange rate, Mr Speizer said.

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 86.70 US cents, 93.57 Australian cents, 52.03 pence, 0.6295 euro, 89.55 yen and 5.38 renminbi.