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New Zealand sharemarket ends little changed

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 26 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket ended little changed, with retailer Hallenstein Glasson retreating further, despite reporting a profit surge yesterday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 2.928 points, or 0.09 percent, at 3240.477. Turnover was worth $99.96 million. There were 31 rises and 43 falls among the 112 stocks traded.

Hallenstein Glasson closed down 6c at 334, on top of a 5c fall yesterday, which came after the company reported its first half profit up 56 percent.

"It is tiny volume. They had a forecast at the end of January so there was nothing to keep people going on it," said Stephen Wright at ASB Securities.

He said the market was quiet. Offshore markets had not provided any great impetus and the NZ dollar had weakened then recovered to be little changed. International investors are currently focused on arrangements to support for debt-laden Greece.

Among the leaders Fletcher Building was up 6c at 841 and Contact Energy was up 11c at 623 but Telecom was down 2c at 212.

Xero fell 2c to 158 after saying it was entering the schools market. New Zealand Windfarms rose 3c to 33 after reaching agreement with an objector to allow an extension of its windfarm.

Renaissance Corp rose 1c to 20 after saying trading for the first two months was positive and it was in compliance with its bank covenants.

Other stocks to rise included Guinness Peat Group up 1c to 87, Nuplex 3c to 348, Property For Industry 3c to 120, SkyTV 8c to 525, Mainfreight 5c to 606 and Rakon 4c to 99.

Losing ground were SkyCity 3c to 326, Cavalier Carpets, 10c to 280, Ebos 7c to 643, Pike River Coal 1c to 89, NZX 3c to 191 and NZ Refining 3c to 400.

In the United States, stocks ended flat, dropping off earlier highs as a weak US bond auction and global debt concerns continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

Indexes advanced for most of the session, with the Dow and S&P hitting fresh 18-month highs, but their gains mostly disappeared after the auction of seven-year notes and comments from European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet on issues surrounding Greece's sovereign debt.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.1 percent to end at 10,841.21, but the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.2 percent at 1165.73, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.1 percent at 2397.41.

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