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NZ Sharemarket Flat Early

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 27 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket was flat in early trading as earnings results continued to reflect tough economic conditions.

But the highlight was not connected to an earnings report, as shares in Abano Healthcare rose $1, or 16.7 percent, to 700, after the company announced it had signed a deal to sell Bay Audiology to National Hearing Care for $157.8 million.

Abano said it owned 70 percent of Bay Audiology, with interests associated with Abano director Peter Hutson holding the remaining 30 percent.

On the earnings front, Air New Zealand reported a 26 percent fall in full year normalised earnings before tax of $145 million, with bottom line net profit down 90 percent to $21m. Shortly after the market opened Air NZ shares were down 3c to 122.

Skellerup Holdings announced an annual after tax profit of $9.2m, down from $12.6 million the previous year.

Difficulties within the global economic environment affected results significantly, Skellerup chairman Sir Selwyn Cushing said. Skellerup's shares lost 1c early to 55c.

Around 10.15am, the benchmark NZSX-50 index was up 2.56 points to 3093.46, having gained 10.4 points yesterday.

Among shares gaining early, NZ Refining Co gained 5c to 530, Fletcher Building was up 3c to 785, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare lifted 2c to 325.

The shares falling early included Ebos Group, down 2c to 585, NZ Oil & Gas down 2c to 162, NZ Farming Systems Uruguay down 2c to 44, and Sky TV down 2c to 444.

In the United States, investors stayed cautious after a rally, leaving stocks little changed despite solid reports on new home sales and durable goods orders.

After a five-month run-up that has pushed the broader S&P 500 up 52 percent from its 12-year closing low on March 9, analysts have been questioning the rally's strength even as economic data points to improved demand.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.04 percent at 9543.52, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.01 percent to 1028.12, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ended up 0.01 percent at 2024.43.

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