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NZ sharemarket eases at the end of lacklustre session

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 18 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket took the lead from Australia today, opening stronger before easing into the end of the session.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 19.07 points, or 0.6 percent, at 3151.68.

"Global concerns weighing on the market still," said Craigs Investment Partners senior dealer Bryon Burke.

Top-10 company Infratil lost a cent to 167 after a positive annual result and forecast increase in earnings.

The infrastructure investor posted a $29 million net profit after last year's $191 million loss, and said its new 50-percent stake in Shell NZ's fuels business would significantly boost earnings.

Shareholders had until today to sell their IFTWB warrants on the market, or pay the outstanding $1.12 by Friday to receive an Infratil share, before they lapsed.

"You'd expect that that's weighed on the price in the last week or two, as most capital raisings do," Mr Burke said.

The profit was on the back of TrustPower's result, "which was ok, and you'd expect consistent dividends from Trustpower, and it's still a big part of Infratil's bottom line," he said.

Shares in Telecom were flat at 207 despite the announced departure of another top management figure, chief financial officer Russ Houlden.

Fletcher Building was flat at 816, Contact Energy lost 7c to 610, Auckland Airport lost a cent to 197, Sky City fell 5c to 296 and Sky TV also lost 5c, to 474.

The Warehouse shares slid 6c to 349, their lowest point in a year after announcing a nearly 2-percent drop in third-quarter sales.

"Reflective of the economy and consumer trends I suppose -- people not buying CDs," Mr Burke said.

"It was OK, but not a positive result from them if you're looking for growth from the economy."

Among the handful of stocks to post gains, Rakon was up a cent at 99, Port of Tauranga gained 4c to 685, NZX was up a cent at 173, and Hallenstein Glasson rose 3c to 338.

Across the Tasman, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 8 points at 4475.

Earlier on Wall Street, stocks staged a comeback in late trading on Monday, setting aside concerns that efforts to tackle the euro-zone debt crisis could stifle the global economy.

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