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Share trading busier in March, though value slides

The volume of trading on New Zealand's share market continued to gain in March, though the value of activity fell for a fourth month.

The number of trades jumped 49 percent to 121,258 in March from the same month a year earlier, with the transactions of less than $50,000 up 55 percent to 112,353. Still, total value traded dropped 24 percent $3.3 billion, for a 27 percent decline in the daily average value traded to $158 million.

Equity trading continued to dominate activity, with total trades up 51 percent to 118,573, and value traded dropping 24 percent to $3.2 billion. The decline in debt market activity slowed, with a 3.5 percent fall in total trades to 2,685 and a 6.3 percent drop in value to $84 million.

Sharemarket activity has been buoyed by the government partial privatisation of electricity companies MightyRiverPower and Meridian Energy last year, with Genesis Energy the final in the scheme listing this month.

The stock market operator doesn't expect to replicate last year's bonanza, and is currently planning a new market for small companies with lower disclosure obligations and cheaper fees.

The number of total listed securities on the exchange fell 3.8 percent to 255 in March from a year earlier, with debt securities shedding 11 percent to 85, while equity listings edged up 0.6 percent to 164.

Some $233 million of primary equity was raised in March and $145 million of dual and secondary equity, in 23 events. That takes the total capital raised this year to $480 million. Some $222 million of new capital was listed in March.

The market value of all equity issuers was up 24 percent to $87.4 billion, or 38.5 percent of gross domestic product, as at March 31, while the debt market was valued at $13.5 billion, or 6 percent of GDP, down 5.8 percent from a year earlier.

Shares in NZX were unchanged at $1.27 yesterday, and have gained 2.4 percent this year.

(BusinessDesk)