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NZ sharemarket eases slightly ahead of US data

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 27 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket ended lower today as profit announcements continued to flow and investors pondered the future of South Canterbury Finance, which has listed debt securities now on trading halt.

The NZX-50 index closed down 10.813 points, or 0.358 percent, at 3007.441. Turnover was worth $110.97m, bolstered by volume in Westpac, Telecom and SkyCity. There were 24 rises, and 41 falls among the 105 stocks traded.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average closed below 10,000, a day ahead of an expected downward revision in US second-quarter economic growth and a major speech by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

"Tonight will be crucial in determining who's right in their argument. Will it be the bears who are calling for a double dip recession or will the bulls who are suggesting this is nothing more than a soft patch in a longer term recovery," said Ben Potter of IG Markets.

New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay (NZFSU) slipped 3c to 69c after one of the bidders for the company pulled out of the running. This is below the 70c the price Olam International of Singapore raised its bid to. Uruguay-based Union Agriculture Group (UAG) dropped its 60c per share bid.

Vector rose 4c to 212 after reporting underlying net profit rose 4.3 percent and calling for an appropriate mix of theory and commercial reality in regulation.

Wine company Delegat's Group rose 3c to 163 after reporting a 17 percent fall in full year operating net profit but revenue was affected by the value of the New Zealand dollar.

Fletcher Building dropped 1c to 752 on a day it said it is making changes to subsidiary Fletcher Building Finance (FBF) to comply with Reserve Bank requirements. FBF will no longer lend to companies within the Fletcher Building group.

Telecom fell 2c to 200, SkyTV fell 7c to 500, and Hallenstein Glasson fell 8c to 382. Guinness Peat Group fell 2c to 63, and Ebos fell 7c to 668. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which held its annual meeting today, fell 2c to 281.

TrustPower rose 4c to 720 and Air NZ rose 2c to 128. AMP Office rose 2c to 72 and Goodman Property rose 1c to 94.

A trading halt was put on South Canterbury Finance securities pending an announcement. The company has been seeking a new investor.

US Stocks initially rose on data showing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week, but the number was still too high to signal a shift in the weak labour market. The four-week average of new claims, regarded as a better gauge of trends, rose to the highest since late November.

The Dow fell 0.7 percent to 9985.81, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 0.8 percent to 1047.22, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.1 percent to 2118.69.

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