The New Zealand sharemarket weakened slightly while other markets in Asia tanked today as a wild ride by financial market on concern about sovereign debt in Europe resumed.
The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 20.263 points, or 0.6%, at 3170.744 after opening down around 8 points. There were 20 rises and 72 falls among the 116 stocks traded.
The Australian market was down 2.6% as the New Zealand market closed, with resource stocks taking the brunt of selling.
Turnover of $87.2 million was boosted by the sale of 10 million shares in New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay.
Brokers speculated the vendor was the receiver of Rural Portfolio Capital. The company's share price rose 2c to 41.
"We have had a reasonable day by Asian and Australian standards," said Stephen Wright at ASB Securities.
Among the leaders Fletcher Building fell 2c to 816, Telecom fell 3c to 207 and Contact Energy rose 2c to 617.
Air NZ fell 1c to 122 as volcanic ash in Europe returned as an issue, while Auckland Airport rose 2c to 198.
The Warehouse fell 5c to 357, Tourism Holdings fell 4c to 88, NZ Refining fell 8c to 342 and AMP fell 15c to 730. ANZ fell 102 to 2730 and Westpac fell 123 to 3012.
SkyCity fell 1c to 301 and SkyTV fell 2c to 479.
Economists predicted the New Zealand budget on Thursday would show improving deficits and economic forecasts, providing a contrast to the awful fiscal situations in other countries.
European financial woes were continuing to be a source of extreme volatility for markets.
Property companies were waiting to see if the government changes depreciation allowances for buildings.
Today, Goodman Property Trust was down 1c at 96 on a day in which the Goodman Australian Development Fund was announced in Australia with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board holding a majority stake.
AMP Office Trust fell 1c to 74, and Property for Industry was unchanged at 114.
NZX fell 3c to 172 after reporting first quarter earnings. Xero fell 8c to 147 and Wakefield Health rose 14c to 715.