MARKET CLOSE Markets yawn as US shutdown deadline passes

The New Zealand share market mirrored mixed fortunes across Asian markets as traders watched for the deadline to pass for resolution of the US budget impasse.

The NZX50 Index was square, if slightly positive on the day, up 7.485 points, or 0.16 percent to 4,743.872, despite more stocks recording share price falls than rises. Within the index, 19 stocks rose, 21 stocks fell, and 10 stocks were unchanged. Turnover was low by usual daily standards at $85.6 million.

“Markets have been yawning a bit,” said Andrew Bascand, managing director at Harbour Asset Management, in Wellington, which today declared its purchase of a 6.25 percent stake in insurance group Tower from Guinness Peat Group in expectation it will return more capital following the sale of its life insurance arm.

AMP Capital Investors also issued a substantial security holder notice on Tower shares, saying it had bought 8 percent of the last major asset to be sold down by GPG, which is divesting its portfolio and now only holds a stake in global threadmaker Coats. Tower shares were unchanged at $1.80.

The federal government shutdown would be the first in 17 years, but will see only a partial shutdown of US government operations, said Bascand.

“October 17 is a significant date because that’s when the government will run out of cash,” said Bascand, but more important were early November deadlines for coupon interest payments on US government bonds.

“They will have to raise the debt ceiling before that,” Bascand said.

The largest fall on the day was jeweller Michael Hill International, down 2.1 percent to $1.43, while the biggest rise was Kiwi Income Trust, up 1.4 percent to $1.10.

Among leaders, Auckland International Airport was up 1.2 percent to $1.66, Sky Network Television gained 1.1 percent to $3.35, and Sky City Entertainment rose 1 percent to $4.05.


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