NZ sharemarket tumbles

New Zealand's sharemarket has tumbled in one of the biggest daily drops traders have ever seen.

Every single stock bar one on the benchmark S&P/NZX50 index was in the red.

The index itself fell 3.64 percent to 8721.2.

Rickey Ward, New Zealand equity manager at JB Were, said it was one of the biggest one-day falls ever, ''but not the biggest. It's certainly the biggest move for some time''.

"We don't have moves like this every day, not for a very long time."

The share plunge hit some of the market's biggest companies, shaving about $420 million off the total market value of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, $850m from a2 Milk and $408m from Auckland International Airport.

Ward said growth stocks like a2 Milk, which had played a big part in the share market's rally over the last year, had acted to drive the market down.

A2 Milk's share price fell by $1.17 to $9.04 - a decline of 11.4 per cent.

However, Ward said it felt like a market was going through a "reset" after what has been a very strong, record-breaking run.

"This feels more like a re-set. Corporates are still growing their earnings - in the US in particular. The underlying outlook still remains reasonably sound.

He said the problem had been that share prices had been running ahead of company's earnings prospects, particularly for the growth companies.

Leighton Roberts, chief operating officer and co-founder of Sharesies, urged investors not to panic.

"Most New Zealanders will be seeing this in their KiwiSaver accounts but it's a matter of realising that is long-term money.

"For us we are just reiterating don't panic. If you are confident that you are diversified and in for the long-term it is a time for buying rather than selling.

"Stay the course you still own the same companies you owned yesterday."

Roberts predicted volatility in the markets would continue but said that was more a return to normal levels after a low level of volatility.

"We have seen unprecedented levels of low volatility."

Roberts described the fall as a slight correction and said he hoped markets would recover similar to what had happened in February and March this year after a dip in the markets also sparked by rising bond yields.

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