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Australian, New Zealand stocks fall after Paris attacks

November 16, 2015

SYDNEY (AP) — The Australian and New Zealand stock markets began trading lower Monday after becoming the first markets in developed economies to open since Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris killed 129 people.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was down 0.6 percent in early trading. Among the stocks to decline was the national carrier, Air New Zealand, which was trading down 1.4 percent.

Australia’s market dropped even more steeply when it opened. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 1.4 percent in initial trading and the broader All Ordinaries similarly fell 1.3 percent.

But within an hour, both indices had made up ground to be down 0.8 percent.

David Lennox, an analyst with wealth manager Fat Prophets, said gold was predictably the winning stock as a safe haven investment. The gold sector rose 3.3 percent in early trading while all other stocks initially lost ground. The banking sector was among the worst performers, down 1.1 percent.

“That’s to be expected given that it’s financial assets that tend to get impacted by events like these,” Lennox said. “Our market has been fairly subdued.”

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Kate Carnell said past experience of major terrorist attacks showed that share markets usually recovered within a couple of days and consumer spending also quickly rebounded.

“Now people have come to grips with the fact that we live in a very unstable and very challenging world,” Carnell told reporters in Canberra, Australia.

The markets opened as France launched air strikes on the Islamic State group’s stronghold in Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris.

Police have announced seven arrests in the case and say they’re hunting for more suspects.

Update hourly