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NZ Sharemarket Closes Above 3200 For Second Consecutive Day

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 24 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket eased its way into the Christmas holiday period, closing little changed on light volume.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed down 4.362 points, or 0.136 percent, at 3205.20.

The index is now back at levels not seen since early November but remains below the year high of 3257.5. It was the second consecutive day the index was above 3200.

The share price of dual-listed Australian banks rose on news the banks had agreed to pay New Zealand Inland Revenue Department a total $2.2 billion in a settlement of a dispute over taxation of structured finance transactions. Westpac rose 48c to 3100 and ANZ rose 70c to 2800. Westpac owed the most but said the $760 million it will now pay the IRD brings back $190m to its books, as all the banks are settling at a 20 percent discount to their total liabilities.

Fletcher Building rose 5c to 795 but Telecom fell 5c to 245 and Contact Energy fell 2c to 606.

The shops were reported to be busy but The Warehouse eased 2c to 421 on light volume. Michael Hill was untraded and Pumpkin Patch was unchanged at 201.

PGG Wrightson rose 2c to 60 after it said it has repaid $200m of debt and its finance company said it is moving to offer excluded, or non-guaranteed deposits, in the new year when the regulatory framework allows.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances fell 1c to 64 and the healthcare stock fell 1c to 339.

Air NZ eased a cent to 118 and Auckland Airport was unchanged at 200.

On Wall Street, technology shares rose after solid earnings from Micron Technology and Red Hat, but an unexpected drop in new home sales kept a lid on the broader market's gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 1.51 points, or 0.01 percent, at 10,466.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2.57 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1120.59. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 16.97 points, or 0.75 percent, to 2269.64.

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