NZ shares flat amid global turmoil

Trader Luke Dalton, foreground, watches the numbers from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange...
Trader Luke Dalton, foreground, watches the numbers from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange near the end of the trading day. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The New Zealand sharemarket was flat shortly after opening today amid continuing turmoil in the global financial system.

Yesterday, the benchmark NZSX-50 index ended down 2.8 percent on the fallout from Wall Street's woes, after investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection and Merrill Lynch was forced to accept a takeover by Bank of America Corp.

Around 10.15am today the NZSX-50 was down just 0.26 points to 3227.05.

Top stock Telecom slipped a little further following its recent slide, easing 1c early to 279.

But as oil prices continued to slide Air New Zealand was up 4c early to 108, while Sky City was up 3c to 360.

Fletcher Building was up 4c early to 711, with Contact Energy rising 2c to 872.

NZ Oil & Gas was down 4c to 141, while shares falling 3c included Tower to 195, Sky TV to 447 and Rakon to 265.

In the United States, equities regained some of the value they lost in the previous session when US stocks had suffered their biggest drop in seven years.

The US stocks clawed back some of the losses on growing optimism that US authorities may finance a rescue of giant insurer American International Group.

A report late in the session that the Federal Reserve was considering a loan to AIG pulled the market out of a funk.

The market had been lower after the US central bank disappointed investors by opting not to cut interest rates as many expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 1.3 percent, to 11,059.02, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 1.75 percent to 1213.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.28 percent at 2207.90.

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