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Buyers took to the sidelines again and sellers took whatever they could get in a New Zealand sharemarket that plunged, staged a modest rebound, and then plunged again today.
The Standard & Poor's downgrade of United States by one notch to AA plus at the weekend, while expected, triggered turmoil on global markets that reassurances from Group of Seven leaders could not counter.
The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 91.056 points, or 2.779 percent, at 3185.45 after opening down 2.9 percent. Today's fall came after the index plunged nearly 3 percent on Friday.
"New Zealand, being the first market to open post the S&P announcement, did appear to overreact when we were down some 3.5 percent," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.
He said buyers withdrew orders and sellers had to meet the market. The price movements were large on relatively thin volumes.
The market rebounded when the Australian market opened not too badly and rallied from there, but then Asian markets tanked and the New Zealand and Australian markets turned lower again.
Futures prices indicate that the US stock market could open down 2.4 percent.
"Things can change reasonably quickly. I'm sure there are going to be a number of leaders trying to calm the markets. You just don't know what is around the corner at the moment," Mr Williamson said.
It was a broad sell-off but some recent star performers were hard-hit as investors took profits.
Ryman Healthcare had been a fantastic performer but the stock trade as low as $2.43 before closing down 1.94 percent at $2.53. Mainfreight fell 43c, or 4.16 percent, to $9.90.
Fletcher Building fell 23c to $7.48, Contact Energy fell 12c to $4.91 and Telecom fell 8.5c to $2.48.5.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 7.63 percent to $2.30 and Abano Healthcare fell 5.13 percent to $4.25.
Steel & Tube fell 14c to $2.25. Cavalier Carpets fell 15c to $3.15.
Tower fell 4c to $1.37 and Hallenstein Glassons fell 10c to $3.40.
Vector fell 8c to $2.35 and TrustPower fell 5c to $6.95.
Xero rose 6c to $2.35 and Skellerup rose 2c to $1.22. Fisher & Paykel Appliances rose 0.5c to 57.5c and Restaurant Brands rise a cent to $2.28.
In the US on Friday (local time), before the S&P downgrade, stocks closed out their worst week in more than two years in a volatile session that saw the major indexes whip back and forth.
More than 15.9 billion shares - or more than twice the daily average volume - traded in the busiest day in more than a year as investors ploughed into cash-rich mega-cap stocks that had been beaten down in recent days as the market dropped.
The intense selling last week reflected frustration with sluggish economic growth and politicians' inability to address pressing concerns over high public debt in Europe and the United States.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent to end at 11,444.61, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index edged down 0.1 percent to finish at 1199.38, and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.9 percent to close at 2532.41.