25 Oct 2018

NZ sharemarket drops to six month low following Wall St losses

5:43 pm on 25 October 2018

The New Zealand stock market has closed 0.9 percent down but regional markets are looking worse off after a volatile day.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 4, 2018 .

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (file). Photo: AFP / Getty Images

The Top 50 Index closed down 74 points to points to 8568. The market was down nearly 1.8 percent in earlier trading, before bargain hunters drove prices back up this afternoon.

Australia's market is next to close, at 7pm tonight, after being down 2 percent earlier today.

Asian shares dived as hundreds of billions of dollars haemorrhaged from global markets after a rout in tech stocks inflicted the largest daily decline on Wall Street since 2011, wiping out all its gains for the year.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan skidded about 2 percent. Japan's Nikkei tumbled 3.5 percent to a six-month trough while Australian shares hit a more than one-year low.

Tokyo's Topix index tumbled 3 percent, evaporating more than $155 billion in market value. Chinese shares opened in the red too with the blue-chip SSE Composite index plummeting 2.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index sank 2.2 percent.

The dive in formerly high-flying US tech stocks sent investors scampering to the safety of sovereign bonds, with yields in 10-year Treasuries falling the most since May to 3.11 percent.

"Weak U.S. housing data, mixed corporate earnings results, trade war fears and concerns regarding a slowing global economy all contributed to the sell off," Sydney-based Rivkin Securities said in a note to clients.

"Investor sentiment remains cautious as we anticipate the reports of over 100 S&P 500 companies including Amazon, Alphabet and Comcast."

Weak readings on manufacturing in Europe added to angst over world growth, as did a surprise slump in U.S. home sales, which suggested rising mortgage rates were sapping demand for housing.

Adding to the air of tension, police intercepted suspected bombs mailed to former U.S. President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other high-profile Democrats, as well as to CNN, in what New York officials branded an act of terrorism.

The growing international pressure on Saudi Arabia over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi also weighed on investor sentiment.

On Wall Street, disappointing forecasts from chipmakers hammered the tech sector. They followed weaker-than-expected forecasts on Tuesday from industrial giants Caterpillar and 3M.


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