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NZ sharemarket little changed as earnings awaited

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 9 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket rose modestly today as investors waited for the corporate reporting season to gear up.

Telecom, which reports half-year earnings on Friday, rose 3c to 221, while Freightways rose 2c to 328 ahead of its interim result on Monday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 3.301 points, or 0.098 percent, at 3386.475. Turnover was worth $117.8 million. There were 37 rises and 24 falls among the 113 stocks traded.

AMP Capital Investors' head of equities Guy Elliffe said the local earnings season will be mixed with cautious outlook statements. Earnings will rebound in 2011 and by 2012 companies may be producing double-digit earnings growth.

"There is no reason to be overly concerned. We think the season will be okay," Mr Elliffe said.

Merger and acquisition activity is also a driver of the market at the moment. Fletcher Building rose fell 7c to 815 on a day Finance Minister Bill English warned of the possibility of a double-dip recession but Fletcher's bid for Australia's Crane Group is expected to succeed.

PGG Wrightson is a more complicated situation and its share price was unchanged today at 59 as investors continue to wait to see if there will be a competing bid to Agria's partial takeover offer at 60c a share.

Cavalier Carpets was unchanged at 315 after a company it part owns filed an application to the Commerce Commission to buy the wool scouring assets of New Zealand Wool Services International even after being told they are not for sale.

Contact Energy fell 2c to 630, The Warehouse fell 4c to 359, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 3c to 314 and Hallenstein Glasson fell 4c to 388.

Dual-listed ANZ rose 7c to $32.73 on a day Commonwealth Bank of Australia reported strong earnings, including for its New Zealand unit ASB. Westpac rose 80c to $31.70.

Xero fell 6c to 259. Infratil rose 1c to 195, Port of Tauranga rose 5c to 773 and Methven rose 5c to 165. DNZ Property rose 1c to 122 on good volume.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average closed its seventh straight day of gains after McDonald's surprisingly strong sales drove confidence in the economic recovery. Light volume, however, called the rally's strength into question.

Energy share weakness limited gains in the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq Composite index after China, the world's second biggest energy consumer, raised interest rates for the second time in six weeks. The rate hike pressured commodities on fears of lower demand, but had little market impact outside that sector.

The Dow Jones gained 0.6 percent to 12,233.15, the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to 1324.57, and the Nasdaq gained 0.5 percent to 2797.05.

NZPA WGT Reuter pjg dw

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