New Zealand markets close for year with barely a whimper

The New Zealand sharemarkets limped to an end-of-year close on Tuesday on light volume, as last-minute deals were pushed through to close out the year.

The NZX-50 closed down nearly 32 points on the day at 4737. But the index ended up 16.5% higher for the year after closing on December 31, 2012 at 4066.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said it was a traditional end-of-year close.

''People have decided they either want in or out of the market at the end of the quarter. Any orders sitting there have been tidied up as people did not want them left there at the end. It was a particularly soft finish on light volume.''

The Warehouse shares were down 11c on Tuesday on 17,000 shares sold. The buy price was $3.70 and the sell at $3.84. TrustPower was down 11c on 9000 shares and Ebos was down 1% on 1000 shares sold. That was indicative of how quiet the last week of the year had been, he said.

However, the year had seen some stellar price movements.

Accounting software company Xero had a year low of $6.79 a share, a peak of $41.50 and closed on Tuesday at $32.30.

Dunedin biotechnology company Pacific Edge had a low of 44.9c and a high of $1.64 and Diligent had a low of $2.76 and a high of $8.20 before closing on Tuesday at $3.80.

Auckland International Airport started the year on $2.67 a share and closed out 2013 at $3.62.

Ryman Healthcare had a low of $4.45 and a high of $8.12 before closing at $7.58.

''There are stocks in here which have had a stunning period and that doesn't include an income stream,'' Mr Timms said.

Global stocks closed out 2013 sitting on some large gains thanks to easy monetary policies and an improving economic outlook.

Activity was light on Tuesday as Tokyo, the star of Asia's markets, was closed for the rest of the week. On Monday, the Nikkei ended with gains of no less than 56.7% for the year, its best performance since 1972. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat for the year as were markets in Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines.

Australia and Taiwan fared better, managing gains of 15% and 12% respectively.

While the Standard & Poor's 500 finished flat, it was still ahead 29% for the year, its largest annual gain since 1997. The Dow Jones rose 26%.

Most European stock indices eased but stayed on track for their largest annual gain in four years. The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 16% for the year.

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