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New Zealand Sharemarket Posts Modest Gain

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 8 NZPA - Surging share prices in the United States on Friday translated into only a minor gain on the New Zealand sharemarket today.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 8.172 points at 3222.815. It was the ninth consecutive rise in the index but the 0.254 percent rise was less than the 0.73 percent gain the Australian market had made when this market closed.

Turnover was worth $61.61 million. There were 50 rises and 28 falls among the 119 stocks traded.

"The Friday night markets were great around the world but today we are flat. I think we are stuck between the reporting season and the official cash rate decision on Thursday," said Stuart Hardie, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand was expected to hold the official cash rate unchanged at 2.5 percent on Thursday.

"Investors are just not wanting to commit at the moment," said Mr Hardie.

Fletcher Building lifted early but closed unchanged at 810 and Telecom eased 1c to 224. SkyCity rose 3c to 332 and Contact Energy rose 3c to 611.

Allied Farmers rose 0.3c to 7.9c at a time when the focus is on the quality of the acquired Hanover Finance loan book.

Briscoe Group rose 5c to 135 ahead of its annual result tomorrow and Postie Plus was untraded ahead of its interim profit report tomorrow.

Steel & Tube rose 4c to 268, Air NZ rose 2c to 133 and Pike River Coal rose 2c to 89. Tourism Holdings rose 1c to 100 and Rakon rose 1c to 104.

Methven fell 5c to 180 and Infratil fell 2c to 166. The Warehouse fell 1c to 394.

Delegat's Group rose 7c to 199 and Ebos Group rose 10c to 635.

Among the smaller stocks, New Image rose 2c to 37, and Renaissance Corp rose 2.5c to 22, while New Zealand Experience fell 1.1c to 28 and L&M Energy fell 1.1c to 14.7.

In the US stocks jumped on Friday (local time), with the Nasdaq hitting an 18-month closing high as US employers cut fewer jobs than expected last month and consumers showed signs of shedding their penny-pinching ways.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 1.2 percent to end at 10,566.20, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 1.4 percent to 1138.70, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.5 percent to 2326.35.

The Dow and the S&P 500 closed at their highest levels in six weeks. All three indexes are now positive for the year.

For the week, the Dow rose 2.3 percent, the Nasdaq added 3.9 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 3.1 percent.

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