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NZ Sharemarket Edges Ahead Early

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 20 NZPA - Solid gains on United States and European stock markets appeared to make little early impression on the New Zealand sharemarket which managed to just edge ahead in the first few minutes after opening.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZX-50 index was up 3.12 points to 3230.72, after losing 19.5 points yesterday, its sixth decline in the past seven trading days.

Fletcher Building was up 2c to 809 early today, having fallen 24c in the past two days, while among other leading shares Telecom slipped 1c to 246 early on top of yesterday's 7c decline, and Contact Energy was unchanged on 606.

Steel & Tube fell 5c to 285, while 2c falls were recorded early for Property for Industry, to 119, ING Property Trust, to 77, and Kiwi Income Property Trust, to 104.

The main early rise was by dual-listed bank ANZ, up 16c to 2900.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose to fresh 15-month closing highs as investors bet a potential Republican victory in Massachusetts' Senate race could stall President Barack Obama's reform agenda.

Preliminary figures put the Dow up 1.1 percent to end unofficially at 10,725.43, the S&P 500 up 1.3 percent to 1150.23, and the Nasdaq Composite Index up 1.4 percent to 2320.40.

In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed 0.8 percent higher at its highest closing level in 15 months, boosted by drugmakers, while Cadbury hit record highs after the firm accepted a $US19.6 billion takeover offer from Kraft.

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