NZX suffers second-biggest drop since the global financial crisis

The New Zealand sharemarket in recent weeks has had its second-worst drop in more than a decade, second only to the massive sell-off ahead of last year's nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

The NZX has shed 7 percent of its value, but analyst Frances Sweetman of Milford Asset Management doesn't think it's the start of a bigger fall.

The Dow Jones fell about 3 percent over the same timeframe, while the Australian ASX has barely changed and the FTSE has only had a minor drop. 

"There were some things specific to our New Zealand market which meant that it underperfomed global markets," she told The AM Show on Thursday morning.

Firstly, a bunch of clean energy companies saw investors bail out, banking profits they've made in recent weeks.

"Those share prices have really been ramped since Biden's victory, so that was understandable," said Sweetman.

But the biggest losers were the A2 milk company, down 16 percent after financial results which didn't live up to investors' expectations; and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, down the same amount after a year of growth thanks to the pandemic. 

Sweetman said investors are shifting their money to companies likely to do well as the world opens up from COVID-19 lockdowns, and away from "stable" stocks unlikely to provide gains. 

"Economies across the globe, in particular New Zealand, are performing very, very well - which is meaning expectations for future interest rates are rising, and that's a drag on those very stable, high dividend-paying shares... We do have a lot of those stable dividend-paying companies in New Zealand...

"Vaccines are rolling out better than expected, the virus trends are improving offshore - so investors are looking forward to the likes of airports, airlines, restaurant companies, those things that will benefit from reopening and away from those stable, defensive companies." 

The biggest drop in the NZX this century remains that suffered during the global financial crisis, losing more than a third of its value between July 2007 and early 2008. Both that and the COVID drop of 2020 pale in comparison to the crash of 1987, which saw share values drop by more than half.