13 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: NZ sharemarket opens sharply down

10:54 am on 13 March 2020

The New Zealand sharemarket opened sharply lower as overseas markets had their single worst session since the 1987 market crash.

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Photo: Supplied / NZX

The benchmark top-50 index opened down nearly 5 percent, but dropped further in the first hour of trading by 7.4 percent, or 764 points, to 9571 points.

This followed a 5 percent fall yesterday after the US imposed restrictions on travel from Europe to help halt the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

US and European sharemarkets fell by as much as 12 percent.

Australian shares are expected to fall sharply as well.

The turmoil has also caught the New Zealand dollar which has been sold as investors seek the safety of the American dollar and the Japanese yen.

The Kiwi had been trading around 60.8 US cents in early trading - an 11-year low - but had since recovered a bit of ground to 61.1 US cents.

The NZX Top 10 Index, which tracks movements in the 10 largest listed companies, was down 8.1 percent. [Auckland Airport was down 11.5 percent after it revised down its full year earnings guidance by $50 million.