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Aussies Help NZ Market Finish Year On Positive Note

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 31 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket ended the year on a positive note, with a helpful nudge from its counterpart across the Tasman.

When the NZX closed an hour early for the New Year holiday, the benchmark NZSX-50 index was up 9.23 points, or 0.29 percent, to 3230.14 and 19 percent higher than it finished 2008. This year's peak was 3257.54 and low was 2411.16.

"The Australian market has had a good little end of year flurry today, and with not many sellers the New Zealand market is closing flat," Macquarie Private Wealth associate director Rob Gwyther said.

"We're in the silly season with thin markets and generally without any external pressures there's enough people getting set for the year to give a positive."

Mr Gwyther said the market had recovered from its latest scare in November, having previously climbed back from the year's low in March, and it could now look ahead to a relatively "kind" month in January with nothing expected to spook investors.

Australia's end-of-year reporting season in February was expected to be supportive of the New Zealand sharemarket, he said. Then investors would wait to see what happened to interest rates with the Reserve Bank having signalled tighter monetary conditions before the middle of 2010, while interest rates may hold up in other countries wanting to keep their currencies weak to trade out of recession.

Among the heavyweight stocks today, Telecom finished all square at 250, Fletcher Building was down 1c to 799 and Contact Energy gained 5c to 615.

The biggest rise of the day saw dual-listed media stock APN leap 8 percent, or 22c to 297 on tiny volume -- while it was recording a slight fall on the Australian market, as the NZ dollar appreciated against the aussie.

Other stocks to gain included Auckland Airport, up 2c to 202, Air New Zealand 1c to 121, Cavalier 8c to 297, AMP Office 1c to 76, Ebos 10c to 590, Hallenstein Glasson 5c to 335, Kiwi Property Trust 2c to 104, NZ Refining 7c to 375, NZ Farming Systems 2c to 48, Pumpkin Patch 2c to 205, Restaurant Brands 3c to 168, Sky TV 5c to 330, Tower 3c to 200 and The Warehouse 6c to 421.

Fisher& Paykel stocks both fell -- appliances 4c to 58 and healthcare 3c to 337.

Others to lose ground included Infratil 1c to 160, Port of Tauranga 6c to 705 and Sky City 5c to 330.

Today's market turnover was $38.34 million.

On Wall Street stocks edged lower overnight as investors took profits in some of the year's better performers, offsetting a much better-than-expected report on Midwest business activity, Reuters reported.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 10.50 points, or 0.10 percent, at 10,534.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.17 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1124.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 4.43 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2283.97.

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