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Modest Early Gains By NZ Sharemarket

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 4 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket gained modestly in early trading, with property trusts standing out among the early risers.

Kiwi Income Property Trust units gained 4c early to 104 on volume of nearly 1.7 million units, while ING Property Trust lifted 4c to 79.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZSX-50 index was up 7.44 points to 3161.37, after two days of meagre gains, closing up just 4.5 points yesterday and up just 2.8 points on Wednesday.

Also rising early were Fletcher Building shares, lifting 5c to 792, as the share price climbed further away from its lowest level in nearly three months of 762, hit late in November.

Steel & Tube was up 2c to 275, SkyTV lifted 2c to 473 and Property for Industry gained 2c to 118.

Shares losing ground early included NZ Refining Co, down 3c to 424, Sky City down 3c to 337, and Contact Energy down 3c to 582. Dual-listed bank Westpac fell 66c to 3050.

In the United States, stocks fell as data showed the services sector shrank unexpectedly in November, while financials led a late sell-off that dragged the major indexes to session lows just minutes before the close.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.8 percent to close unofficially at 10,366.15, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 0.8 percent to end unofficially at 1099.92, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.5 percent to finish unofficially at 2173.14.

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Wellington, Dec 3 NZPA - A tumultuous year for the New Zealand sharemarket seems to be ending on a quiet note with the market index trading in a narrow range for a third consecutive day today.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 4.484 points, or 0.142 percent, at 3153.93, having edged up just 2.8 points yesterday in quiet trading. Turnover was worth $160.5 million and was boosted by trading in Telstra. There were 40 rises and 29 falls among the 117 stocks traded.

PGG Wrightson rose 4c to 62 after the company said a class action against its Chinese partner Agria has been dismissed by a US court. The rights rose 3.1c to 15.3.

"There does seem to be some buying coming into PGG Wrightston as people start to realise that once this capital raising is out of the way the balance sheet will be that much better," Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene said.

Strong commodity prices are also helping stocks exposed to the agriculture sector. Pyne Gould Corp rose 1c to 45 but NZ Farming Systems Uruguay was unchanged at 46.

The Warehouse rose 4c to 412 and the company said it was business as usual after the National Distribution Union said yesterday that retail staff had voted to strike over their working conditions.

"There is a bit of interest in retail stocks as we head into the important Christmas and New Year period," Mr Williamson said.

Hallenstein Glassons rose 10c to 330 and Pumpkin Patch rose 4c to 190 but Postie Plus fell 3c to 40. Kathmandu rose to 8c to 213, which is back at the price in its initial public offer.

Hellaby Holdings rose 3c to 161 and Michael Hill rose 2c to 65.

Among the leaders, Telecom rose 1c to 247, TrustPower rose 3c to 730 and Fletcher Building fell 3c to 787.

Among dual-listed shares, ANZ dropped 62c to 2835, Westpac was down 10c to 3116, while Telstra gained 6c to 445.

Contact fell 9c to 585 and Steel & Tube fell 7c to 273. Freightways rose 3c to 313. SkyCity fell 2c to 340.

In the United States, the Nasdaq ended higher as investors grew optimistic about Amazon.com Inc's holiday sales prospects, but the Dow and S&P 500 were little changed after oil prices retreated, pressuring shares of energy companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 18.90 points, or 0.18 percent, to end at 10,452.68. The S&P 500 index inched up just 0.38 of a point, or 0.03 percent, to finish at 1109.24. The Nasdaq composite index gained 9.22 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 2185.03.

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