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New Zealand Sharemarket Closes Little Changed

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 14 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket was little changed on a day in which Asian markets put worries about a monetary policy tightening in China aside and the strength of the Australian economy again caught investors' attention.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 2.138 points, or 0.065 percent, at 3278.333. Turnover was worth $85.95 million. There were 30 rises and 32 falls among the 106 stocks traded. The index has fallen on each of the past three days, after reaching a 15-month high last Friday.

Strength in the New Zealand dollar was seen as a negative for exporters but a higher than expected rise in employment data in Australia underlined the strength of that economy and was positive for companies operating there.

The challenges facing retailers were underlined by the suspension of NZAX-listed Eastern HiFi after receivers were appointed to the home entertainment specialist. Receivers also requested that ProvencoCadmus be delisted.

Shares in Steel & Tube rose 2c to 298 Steel & Tube started to climb in mid-December, and during the day traded as high as 303.

Leaders were mixed with Fletcher Building down a cent at 844, Contact unchanged at 632 and Telecom down 2c at 250.

The finance sector was strong with ANZ up 124 to 2839, Westpac up 95c to 3195, AMP up 18c to 805 and Tower up 3c to 218.

Pike River Coal rose 1c to 99. NZOG eased a cent to 162 on a day in which the oil fell to its lowest level this year. NZ Refining eased 2c to 373. Horizon eased 5c to 385.

The Warehouse eased 4c to 404 and Hellaby eased 5c to 165, but Michael Hill was unchanged at 72.

Restaurant Brands rose 1c to 176, Tourism Holdings rose 6c to 98 and SkyTV rose 4c to 519.

Auckland Airport eased 2c to 193. About 2.1 million Allied farmers shares traded and the stock ended at 11.5c.

Comvita rose 12c to 172, PGG Wrightson rose 2c to 66 and Mowbray eased 4c to 95.

In the United States, the stock market closed higher, following the lead of financial stocks as the heads of several big banks testified before Congress about the financial crisis.

Stocks fluctuated early in the day but strengthened as the questioning of bank officials proceeded with little in the way of confrontation.

Industries seen as safer in a weak economy, such as health care and utilities, posted some of the biggest gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.51 points, or 0.5 percent, to 10,680.77, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.46 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1145.68, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 25.59 points, or 1.1 percent to 2307.90.


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