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NZ Sharemarket Closes Lower, Telecom Eases

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, June 19 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket edged lower today as top stock Telecom slipped from its highest level in nearly six weeks reached yesterday.

Telecom fell 8c to 261, which was off yesterday's high of 270 after Telecom's competitors were critical of a Commerce Commission decision on sub-loop costs.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed down 13.969 points, or 0.499 percent, at 2784.273. Turnover was worth $141 million and was again dominated by trading in Telecom and Fletcher Building shares. There were 39 rises and 45 falls among the 103 shares traded.

Fletcher Building rose 8c to 653, after adding 9c yesterday and brokers said the price was attracting buyers after recent weakness.

"There is still no real direction to this local market and there hasn't been for a number of days now," said Grant Williamson, director of Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

"There is no local news and the offshore markets are not doing terribly much either."

Next week balance of payments and gross domestic product data may provide insight into how long the recession will last. But the higher NZ dollar is still affecting some companies.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare fell 6c to 288 but Sanford was unchanged at 550.

Contact rose 5c to 583 and Fisher and Paykel Appliances rose 1c to 67. Goodman Property rose 2c to 90 and Kiwi Income Property Trust rose 1c to 91.

Michael Hill rose 1c to 69 but The Warehouse eased a cent to 374.

TrustPower eased 30c to 760 and NZ Refining eased 63c to 682. Infratil rose 3c to 176, which is above the 162 price shareholders can exercise warrants at. Infratil said late today that an underwrite has been put in place for exercising warrants.

US stocks gained on Thursday as data on the jobs market and regional manufacturing revived hopes that the recession-hit economy is stabilising.

"It really paints a picture of an economy that continues to have a tough road to hoe, but at the end of the day the good news is getting better and the bad news is getting less frequent," said Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 86.01 points, or 1.01 percent, to 8583.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 10.49 points, or 1.15 percent, to 921.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.66 points, or 0.37 percent, to 1814.72.

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