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NZ sharemarket flat early

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 19 NZPA - Shares in Freightways continued their gains for the week, rising to a two-month high in early trading after the company reported on Monday that its second half performance was better than the first six months.

Overall, the benchmark NZX-50 index was down 1.28 points to 3016.9 around 10.20am, having closed up 11.6 points yesterday.

Freightways, which on Monday reported a 2 percent fall in full year net profit, excluding an abnormal tax charge, was up 3c early to 290. It had closed on Friday at 268.

Fletcher Building gained 5c to 739 early, building on yesterday's 16c gain which came after the company relieved some investors of their worst fears by reporting an annual result in line with expectations.

Mainfreight gained 13c early to 664 after reporting first quarter sales up 20.5 percent compared to a year earlier and ebitda up 32.4 percent, saying business performance in the countries where it was based had improved on the trading trend of the previous six months.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare dropped 3c to 280 early, Contact Energy fell 2c to 576, Sky TV was down 2c to 490, and Telecom eased 1c to 207.

In the United States, Wall Street made small gains, led by consumer stocks after a sales forecast from discounter Target Corp temporarily quelled concerns about consumer demand.

Shares of Target rose 2.5 percent to $US51.95 after the company said it expected same-store sales to increase 1 percent to 3 percent in the third quarter and be up slightly more in the fourth quarter.

The outlook came a day after the stock market rallied on higher-than-expected earnings from Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot.

"Deflation worries are what's been really pressuring the market. But the news from Target today, on top of Wal-Mart and Home Depot, is saying that we may not be in such a bad situation," said Marc Pado, US market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.1 percent at 10,415.54, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.2 percent at 1094.16, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.3 percent at 2215.70.

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