Five sleeps until the big day and a Christmas rally was nowhere to be seen in either international or domestic markets. 

The US markets were particularly subdued, which was felt in New Zealand’s market from the moment it opened this morning.

Today the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 113.3 points or 0.98%, to 11,404.83. Turnover was $95.5 million.

Devon Funds head of retail Greg Smith summed up the lack of a Christmas rally so far this month in two words: Bad Santa.

Festive puns aside, Smith said investors everywhere were still holding out hope for a rally before the Christmas festivities started, but it was looking less likely by the day.

Although Telco Spark edged down 0.3% to $5.225 today, Smith said Spark had been one of the best – if not the best – performing stock in NZ's market this year.

Spark turned over $10.4m in volume today, with the share price having jumped up 22.3% in the last year.

On the news front, ANZ released its December business outlook survey where it found a net 70% of businesses that responded to the survey said they believed economic conditions would worsen over the next 12 months. This was versus 57.1% of businesses that were negative last month.

ANZ was up 0.7% to $25.15 today.

Energy retailer Contact Energy fell 1% to $7.80 after it revealed it would be instituting a zero-emissions plan in response to an otherwise high score in sustainability ratings this month.

Forsyth Barr released its first-ever carbon, environmental, social and governance (CESG) survey on NZ-listed companies earlier in December. Contact Energy scored an A, with 80.7%.

Property developer Precinct Properties also announced it plans to enter the residential market, partnering with Auckland developer Lamont & Co. Precinct edged down 1.5% to $1.315 by early evening.

Retirement village developer Arvida Group had one of the biggest falls of the day, down 4.4% to $1.09.

Stocks that had a good day were jewellery retailer Michael Hill, which rose 2.7% to $1.15 and the bank Heartland Group which was up 1.7% to $1.83.

Smith said the seasonal festive rally had yet to arrive in overseas markets either, with the S&P 500, in particular, down more than 6% in the month to date and down 20% from the previous year.

In the local market, the S&P/NZX 50 had fallen 4.6% in December so far.

Kiwi underperforms

Today, the NZ dollar was trading at 63.49 US cents at 3pm in Wellington, down from 63.86 US cents yesterday.

Currency trader OFX said this morning that the Kiwi dollar had underperformed against the other commodity currencies overnight – including the NZD/AUD cross, which was back below 95 Australian cents after reaching its highest level in a year at the end of last week.