15 Mar 2011

Nuclear crisis in Japan affects Pacific markets

8:26 pm on 15 March 2011

Panic selling has caused sharp falls on stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region, as concerns about Japan's nuclear situation intensify.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei average dropped 14%, before ending down 9.5%, on Tuesday.

The NZX 50 lost 1.4% of its value, and Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 2.1%.

The NZX 50 index fell 47 points, to close at 3314 on turnover of $89 million.

Fletcher Building was down 8 cents to $8.66, Telecom down 1 cents to $1.97, and Contact Energy down 11 cents to $5.83.

Air New Zealand fell 13 cents, or more than 10%, to $1.06 after saying it would lose money in the second half of the year, due to surging fuel costs and the impact of devastating earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan.

Satara was unchanged at $1 after the kiwifruit and avocado co-operative said it lost $4.8 million in 2010.

New Zealand Oil & Gas lost 3 cents to 90 cents and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 3 cents to $2.96. Fisher & Paykel Appliances was unchanged at 57 cents.

Sky City Entertainment Group was down 2 cents to $3.38, Sky Television down 7 cents to $5.39 and The Warehouse down 5 cents to $3.38.

In currency markets the dollar is trading at 73.05 US cents, 73.41 Australian, 45.35 pence, 59.52 yen, and 0.5252 euro. The TWI stands at 64.64.