The New Zealand sharemarket eased slightly today, in keeping with a weak Australian market and reflecting lukewarm local economic news.
The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed down 13.458 points, or 0.407%, at 3290.291.
Turnover was worth $101.2 million, of which $30.6 million was in Fletcher Building. There were 38 rises and 41 falls among the 115 stocks traded.
"The Christmas and New Year rally has petered out somewhat today," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
The S&P 500 has risen every trading day so far in 2010.
"Markets in Australasia are taking a bit of a breather and coming under profit-taking pressure," he said.
The NZIER's latest survey showed business confidence had stabilised in the December quarter, after a rapid recovery earlier in the year.
While a rise in the New Zealand dollar overnight was negative for some stocks, the currency eased back somewhat today.
Telecom eased 1c to $2.54 after it was admonished by the Commerce Commission for its latest Fair Trading Act breach.
The commission said it had reached a settlement with Telecom and its internet service Xtra after they admitted breaching the act by misleading more than 130,000 broadband customers.
Heavily traded Fletcher Building rose 3c to $8.39 and is seen as benefiting from the many reports of a strong property market. It is back around levels it was at in September last year.
Auckland Airport shed another 6c to $1.96. It fell 6c yesterday after saying it had agreed to buy a 24.55% stake in North Queensland Airports for $A132.8 million ($NZ166 million).
Air NZ eased 2c to $1.18 but Infratil rose 1c to $1.70 as the market continued to react positively to the sale of its stake in Australia's Energy Developments.
NZ Refining rose 11c to 380 on light volume while Contact Energy eased 2c to $6.32.
The Warehouse fell 5c to $4.05 and Michael Hill 1c to 72c. Hellaby fell 4c to $1.66 while Hallenstein Glasson rose 3c to $3.28.
SkyTV eased 4c to $5.13 and Port of Tauranga 5c to $7.10.
Transport stocks fared better, with Freightways up 4c to $3.44 and Mainfreight up 1c to $5.79.
• US industrial shares lifted the Dow and the S&P 500 on Monday to new 15-month highs after China bolstered expectations the world economy would strengthen, but the Nasdaq fell on profit-taking in tech stocks.
China reported record imports of some commodities and stronger-than-expected exports, boosting US companies with large international operations such as construction machinery maker Caterpillar.
Alcoa rose 2.5% in regular trading, but the Dow component reported earnings below Wall Street estimates after the closing bell, and its stock fell 4%.
Alcoa was the first Dow company to announce results, launching the final quarter earnings season that will show whether profits and outlooks will be strong enough to fuel further gains in stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 45.80 points, or 0.4%, to 10,663.99. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.2% to 1146.98 and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.2% to 2312.41.