January 26, 2020 / 11:09 PM / 24 days ago

New Zealand shares fall with tourism, travel stocks among worst hit

Jan 27 (Reuters) - New Zealand shares fell on Monday with travel and tourism-related stocks among the worst performers as the spread of a new coronavirus raised concern over its impact on movement and growth.

The country’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5%, or 53.73 points to 11,824.08 in light trade.

Health authorities around the world are racing to prevent the spread of the virus that has infected more than 2,000 people in China and killed 56.

A virtual lockdown of the epicentre of the virus has already been imposed along with travel restrictions in other parts of China.

Tourism Holdings dropped 4% to its lowest level since the middle of 2016 and was the worst performer on the index.

Similarly, Air New Zealand and Auckland International Airport fell 2.4% and 2.1%, respectively.

Concerns over the spread and severity of the coronavirus have many worried that disruptions to trade and travel could hit economic growth if prolonged.

“Any economic shock to China’s colossal industrial and consumption engines will spread rapidly to other countries through the increased trade and financial linkages associated with globalization,” said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiCorp.

Australia was closed for a public holiday.

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Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru Editing by Marguerita Choy

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