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New Zealand: Shares fall on trade war fears as Trump leaves G-7 reeling

[BENGALURU] New Zealand shares fell in early trade on Monday as fears of a global trade war heightened after US President Donald Trump threw the G-7's efforts to show a united front into disarray.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index declined 0.3 per cent or 24.18 points in lacklustre trade to 8,914.27 by 2349 GMT. Australian financial markets were closed for a public holiday.

"Local investors will be waiting to see how the overseas markets react to what's happening particularly between the Canadians and the Americans, and whether that might escalate into something more," said Grant Williamson, investment adviser at Christchurch-based Hamilton Hindin Greene.

The United States and Canada swung sharply towards a diplomatic and trade crisis on Sunday as top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a day after Mr Trump called him "very dishonest and weak."

Mr Trump's backing out of the G-7 joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

US trading partners have been furious over Mr Trump's decision last week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico as part of his "America First" agenda.

Mr Williamson also said a "bit of profit taking" was evident following a very good run for the market lately.

The benchmark gained 3.5 per cent last week and registered its fourth consecutive record close on Friday.

Healthcare stocks led the decline on Monday, with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd slipping 0.7 per cent, while Ryman Healthcare Ltd fell 1.1 per cent.

Others in the red included Spark New Zealand Ltd, down 1.1 per cent, while utilities were also under pressure, with Meridian Energy Ltd sliding 1 per cent.

REUTERS

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