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NZ sharemarket ends firmer, Fletcher Building rises

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 18 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket posted modest gains today on the back of a rise in its biggest stock, Fletcher Building, after it reported earnings.

The benchmark NZX-50 index gained 11.635 points, or 0.387 percent, to 3018.182.

Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene said the rise was good considering the Australian market was mixed after BHP launched a $US38.6 billion ($NZ54 billion) hostile takeover bid for a Canadian potash company.

Fletcher Building rose 16 cents to 734 after reporting a 4 percent fall in annual earnings excluding one-time items on a similar fall in revenue.

Mr Williamson said some investors had been fearing the worst going into the result so were pleasantly surprised when it was in line with expectations.

"It was a mixed bag in the divisions and a common theme this reporting season is a cautious outlook.

"Investors would like directors to show a bit more guidance and be a bit more open about the performance going forward," he said.

Sky City, which increased its final dividend when reporting a 12 percent rise in underlying full year net profit yesterday, inched down 1c to 288 after shedding 10c yesterday.

Market operator NZX, which announced a 91 percent dive in first half profit yesterday, was unchanged at 141.

Telecom gained 1c to 208 and Contact Energy rose 4c to 578. Both companies report on Friday.

APN fell 19c to 19c to $2.35 after reporting interim earnings.

TrustPower rose 2c to 717, Mainfreight rose 1c to 651 and Restaurant Brands rose 4c to 250.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 3c to 283 and Freightways rose 6c to 287. The latter had put on 6c yesterday after it said its second half was an improvement over the first six months.

Guinness Peat Group eased 1c to 66 and NZ Farming Systems Uruguay eased a cent to 63. Allied Farmers was at 2.8c.

OceanaGold rose 17c to 398.

US stocks rose overnight after earnings from retail giants Wal-Mart and Home Depot topped expectations.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 103.84 points, or 1.01 percent, at 10,405.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 13.16 points, or 1.22 percent, at 1092.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 27.57 points, or 1.26 percent, at 2209.44.

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