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Fletcher Building outpaces market, Restaurant Brands rises

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Sept 21 NZPA - Fletcher Building shares hit levels today not seen since May 2008, shunting the New Zealand sharemarket to a four-month high.

Shares in the country's largest building company have been in demand since Canterbury's magnitude 7.1 earthquake, as local and offshore investors anticipate its involvement in the estimated $4 billion reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure.

Executives returned from an overseas investor roadshow last week reporting interest in the implications of the damaging quake for the construction and building supplies company.

Fletcher Building shares rose 1.9 percent, or 16c, to 8.66c today.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 19.82 points, or 0.6 percent, at 3236.76, following yesterday's nearly 5-point gain.

Another stock to post large gains today was fast food franchise operator Restaurant Brands, which hit a record closing high of 259, up 8c or 3 percent.

The company has recovered steadily from a trough in late 2008 after improving its flagship KFC brand and other changes, and said today that second-quarter sales had risen 3.7 percent.

Among blue chips, Telecom was flat at 206, Contact Energy lost a cent to 575, Auckland Airport was down a cent at 207, Sky City rose 2c to 290, Sky TV gained 5c to 525, and Infratil rose a cent to 175.

Carpet maker Cavalier was up 6c at 316, Mainfreight rose 11c to 721, Steel & Tube was up 6c at 245, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gained 6c to 311.

The declines were less dramatic. The Warehouse lost 4c to 380, Ebos fell 3c to 695, and NZX was down a cent at 160.

Across the Tasman, the S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed at 4629.

Earlier in the United States, the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at a four-month high as a long-awaited break above a technical range and a raft of positive corporate news increased investor optimism.

The markets are awaiting news from a US Federal Reserve meeting tomorrow morning (NZT), although no action is expected.

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