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New Zealand Sharemarket Nudges Higher

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 25 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket nudged ahead today, outperforming many Asian markets, but on low volume.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 12.832 points, or 0.418 percent, at 3080.505. Turnover was worth $60 million. There were 44 rises and 35 falls among the 111 stocks traded.

Starting with the positives, Vector rose 1c to 206 after reporting a 16.3 percent rise in profit even though electricity volumes edged down and the amount of gas distributed fell more sharply.

"To us, the most impressive feature was management's ability to take costs out," said Peter Sigley, a dealer at Goldman Sachs JBWere.

"They definitely get a big tick," he said.

Pike River Coal was down 11c, or 9.65 percent, to 103 after reporting its first 60,000 tonne export shipment scheduled for mid-November would be delayed, and was now scheduled for the January-March quarter.

"If you look at the market reaction it is really strike three for these guys," Mr Sigley said.

"But having said that, mine developments often have teething problems and we are talking about something with a 25 year working life," he said.

Investors expect the company to have enough working capital to see them through the delay.

Michael Hill International slipped 3c to 69, after reporting a 175.6 percent rise in full-year net profit to $69.5m, with the result boosted by a $52.9m deferred tax credit.

Chairman Michael Hill said New Zealand and Canada felt the impact of worsening global conditions, but the Australian retail segment was more resilient.

Telecom rose 2c to 274 on a day the pay of executives was in the news. Fletcher Building rose 5c to 782 and Contact rose 8c to 633.

TrustPower rose 9c to 750 and Air NZ rose 1c to 125. Hallenstein Glasson rose 7c to 285 and Ebos rose 5c to 585.

Infratil fell 2c to 171, The Warehouse fell 3c to 407 and NZX fell 10c to 755.

Nuplex fell 5c to 217 and NZ Refining fell 6c to 544.

NZOG fell 1c to 165 ahead of its result tomorrow.

In the United States, stocks ended the day barely changed as investors took a break from a four-day rally that lifted major indices to 10-month highs.

Wall Street initially charged higher, but a sharp gain in US Treasury debt prices, which drove benchmark yields lower, triggered a sell-off in stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 3.32 points, or 0.03 percent, to end at 9509.28. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched down just 0.56 of a point, or 0.05 percent, to 1025.57 and the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 2.92 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2017.98.

Earlier, the Dow rose as high as 9587.73, while the S&P 500 climbed as high as 1035.82, while the Nasdaq hit an intraday high at 2036.03.

Analysts have been warning that the market's upbeat mood could be put to the test as a recent rally has pushed the S&P up about 52 percent from its 12-year closing low on March 9.

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