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Lacklustre NZ market slinks lower

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 13 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket eased to an unimpressive close today, failing to find inspiration in a key milestone achieved in the United States.

The benchmark NZX-50 index lost 4.2 points to close at 3309.9, still hovering close to its 18-month high reached last Wednesday.

"Pretty flattish in the overall scheme of things -- most Asian markets are under a little more pressure than we are at the moment," said Adrian Vance of Hamilton Hindin Greene.

"Even though the US closed above 11,000 for the first time in quite some time, it hasn't really rubbed off."

Marking the start of the international financial reporting season yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 11,000 for the first time in almost 19 months as expectations of solid first-quarter earnings spurred buying in financial, energy and industrial sectors.

The S&P 500, which is up 7.2 percent since the start of the year, rose to within 1 point of 1200, a critical resistance level.

"I think all eyes will be on the US markets tonight," Mr Vance said.

On the more lacklustre New Zealand market, top stock Telecom was flat at 220, Contact Energy gained a cent to 644, Fletcher Building lost 5c to 828, Auckland International Airport slipped 3c to 200 and Fisher & Paykel Appliances eased a cent to 61 on heavy volume.

NZX gained 4c to 188, Trustpower rose 10c to 750 and The Warehouse was up 3c at 383.

Financial services company Tower rose 3c to 203, cracking the 200 mark for the first time in more than two months.

On the down side, Steel and Tube lost 3c to 280, Air New Zealand slipped 5c to 141, and Pike River Coal retreated from yesterday's six-month high to close down 3c at 112.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index eased 36 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4947, eroding yesterday's gain, and Japan's Nikkei share average fell 1 percent.

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