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NZ Sharemarket Flat Early

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 15 NZPA - Shares in the New Zealand Refining Co rose 3 percent in early trading as they continued to edge away from a 4-1/2-year low touched earlier this month.

Shares in the oil refiner were up 11c to 384 after dropping as low 355 on January 6.

The wider market started the day flat, with the benchmark NZSX-50 index down 0.72 points to 3277.61 around 10.15am, following a gain of just 2.1 points yesterday.

Other than NZ Refining, the other early movers were heavyweight Fletcher Building, which dropped 6c to 838, and Cavalier Corporation, which was down 4c to 281.

Contact Energy lost 3c to 629, and Sky City was down 3c to 331, while Telecom gained 2c to 252, and Steel & Tube lifted 2c to 300.

The dual-listed banks had diverging fortunes, with ANZ down 19c to 2820 while Westpac gained 53c to 3248.

In the United States, technology shares lifted the market as investors bet business spending will bolster profits in the sector.

The rise in technology is "an indication that investors see business spending, not consumer spending, fuelling further growth to bring us out of" recession, said Burt White, managing director and chief investment officer at LPL Financial in Boston.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.3 percent to 10,710.55, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.2 percent to 1148.46, and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 2316.74.

The market rose despite an unexpected drop in December US retail sales and an increase in new jobless claims last week that topped estimates.

"The market was able to shrug off the data because as long as news is bad, government stimulus will keep coming," said Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.


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