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NZ Sharemarket Closes Higher While Asian Markets Slide

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 4 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket outperformed Asian markets today and did not react to news that the unemployment rate rose to a surprise 7.3 percent.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 13.826 points, or 0.441 percent, at 3148.939.

Turnover was improved with $85 million worth of shares trading, though most of the volume was in leaders.

Still, trading was mixed with Telecom up 6c at 241 and Fletcher Building down 5c at 770.

"We've followed the same course as the last three days in that we have gone against the rest of Asia but today we are up," said Stephen Wright at ASB Securities.

Today 43 stocks were up and 40 stocks were down.

"Turnover is up on what we have been seeing but the turnover is mostly related to a small number of stocks.

"We are still all waiting for corporate results," Mr Wright said.

The unemployment data knocked the New Zealand dollar down one US cent but did not affect the sharemarket directly.

AMP NZ Office Trust rose a cent to 74 after reporting a higher interim net profit and expressing concern that proposed tax changes would affect the commercial property sector.

SouthPort was untraded after reporting a flat interim result and Genesis Research rose 1.3c to 6.9c after reporting a smaller annual loss than last year.

Nuplex, which announced the appointment of a new chief executive today, rose 2c to 326.

SkyCity advanced 5c to 323, Telstra rose 12c to 435 and NZOG rose 4c to 152.

ANZ rose 30c to 2720 and Westpac rose 15c to 2920.

Property for Industry rose 1c to 115, ING Property Trust rose 1c to 78 and Kiwi Income Property Trust rose 1c to 104.

Contact Energy eased 1c to 584, Cavalier Carpets fell 1c to 277 and Freightways fell 2c to 335.

Others stocks to retreat included Rakon down 7c to 101, NZ Farming Systems Uruguay 2c to 41. Hallenstein Glasson 12c to 350, Fisher & Paykel Appliances 1c to 59 and Sanford 4c to 476.

Air NZ was unchanged at 132 as was Infratil on 163.

Wall Street ended a two-day rally, with Reuters reporting stocks mostly fell, after Pfizer released a disappointing outlook and the president's commitment to bank and healthcare reform weighed on the financial and health sectors.

Pfizer Inc fell 2.3 and led a broad decline in several health-related sectors after the world's biggest drugmaker reported quarterly earnings that missed estimates and forecast profits below expectations.

President Barack Obama reiterated his commitment to overhaul the healthcare system and impose stricter regulatory reforms on Wall Street, underscoring the political risk that has driven US stocks lower in recent weeks, Reuters reported.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 26.30 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 10,270.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 6.04 points, or 0.55 percent, at 1097.28. But the Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 0.85 of a point to 2190.91.

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