By Sophie Boot
New Zealand shares fell, joining a global selloff, on concern declining oil prices and slowing Chinese exports signal weaker global growth. Mighty River Power, Contact Energy and Genesis Energy led the decline.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped 29.43 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6035. Within the index, 28 stocks fell, 15 rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $189 million.
Oil prices slumped to their lowest levels since 2009 after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to keep production high despite depressed demand, stoking concerns a global glut would increase.
In New York, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.7 percent overnight, as oil companies tumbled. In Asia today, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.7 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index shed 1 percent in afternoon trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.8 percent.
"Commodity prices and oil tend to reflect growth expectations, so having such weakness there is causing some people to question whether the global economy is quite as strong as they thought it was," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "There's general negative sentiment across markets everywhere at the moment, with very weak commodity prices across the board."
Energy companies led the index down today, with Mighty River Power dropping 3.6 percent to $2.72, Contact down 2.6 percent to $4.58 and Genesis down 2.5 percent to $1.92.
China reported a fifth monthly drop in exports today, adding to concern about global growth.
"This is just another indicator that tells you the Chinese economy is slowing down," Lister said.
Vector was the biggest gainer, up 2.3 percent to $3.17.
Synlait Milk rose 3.1 percent to $2.63.
Vital Healthcare Property Trust rose 2.2 percent to $1.88. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 1.5 percent, and has gained 32 percent this year.