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MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 slips, Tourism Holdings, Nuplex Fall

Dec. 15 – New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index edged lower after reports showing weaker manufacturing and service industries helped drive down Nuplex Industries and Tourism Holdings.

The NZX 50 fell 0.52, or 0.02%, to 2676.43 at the 5 p.m. lose of trading in Wellington. Within the index 25 stocks fell, 14 rose and 11 were unchanged or untraded. Tourism Holdings, which depends on an influx of overseas visitors for sales, fell 6.3% to a record-low 60 cents, bringing its slide this year to 73%.

“The tumble in inbound visitor numbers is entirely symptomatic of the parlous state of the global economy, which we believe is casting a much darker shadow than many currently acknowledge,” said Mark Walton, markets economist at Bank of New Zealand. Tourist flows fell 3% year-on-year in October and November’s figures, due Friday may be “horrid,” he said.

Nuplex declined 6.7% to NZ$2.80 after government figures today showed manufacturing sales volumes fell to a five-year low in the third quarter. The figures follow the Performance of Manufacturing Index last week that showed manufacturing sank to a record low last month.

Cavalier Corp. fell 0.5% to NZ$1.99 after announcing plans to rationalise over-capacity in the wool scouring industry with partner David Ferrier. The move follows a drop in the national sheep flock, which has reduced available wool.

Hellaby Holdings fell 4% to NZ$1.18, adding to its 15% slump on Friday, when the company said pretax earnings may fall as much as 26% this year on weakening demand for auto-parts, construction equipment and shrinking margins on shoes.

Ryman Healthcare rose 2.1% to NZ$1.47. The rest home operator said in its first-half report that it expects "realised profits to be as good, if not slightly better, in the second half."

New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 4% to NZ$1.29 as the prospect of big production cuts by OPEC drove up the price of oil. Crude oil January delivery rose as much as 2.9% to US$47.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ANZ Banking Group climbed 4.4% to NZ$18 and Westpac Banking Corp. rose 4.2% to NZ$20, leading the NZX 50 higher. The banking stocks followed their Australia shares higher as lenders rushed to sell government guaranteed bonds to bolster their balance sheets. Australian banks are raising more than A$9 billion of bonds this week.

In Sydney today, the S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 2.3% to 3591.4. BHP Billiton rose 7.2% to A$30.90 on optimism metals prices will rebound. Telstra tumbled 12% to A$3.65 after Australia's largest phone company said the government panel had rejected its plan for a national high-speed broadband network.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index was 5% higher at 8648.15 in early afternoon trading as speculation the U.S. will devise a rescue for its automakers helped lift shares of Honda Motor.



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