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NZ Sharemarket Posts Modest Gains In Quiet Session

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 3 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket posted modest gains today with some companies exporting to the strong Australian economy seen as benefiting from a low Australian dollar cross rate.

Asian shares also rose for the fourth straight session as investors became less worried about debt-ridden Greece. Locally, the flow of corporate news slowed and investors continued to assess the information from the earnings season.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 15.284 points, or 0.48 percent, at 3198.523. Turnover was worth $77.4 million. There were 52 rises and 38 falls among the 120 stocks traded.

"It was another reasonable day on the market. Australia is having a good day, and our dollar being under a bit of pressure on the Australian cross is helping as well," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

Fletcher Building rose 13c to 810 and it was seen as benefiting from stronger than expected Australian growth data as well as the cross rate.

Guinness Peat Group rose 2c to 92. The stock has rallied from around 82 since indicating when reporting earnings that an objective of returning value to shareholders had been restored as a top priority.

"Pumpkin Patch continues its good run after its result," said Mr Williamson said. Pumpkin Patch rose 5c to 214. Vector rose 2c to 206 in an ongoing reaction to its earnings

Telecom rose 2c to 221 but traded as low as 219 today.

Infratil rose 2c to 166 after saying on Monday that documentation of the planned acquisition of Shell NZ's business was at an advanced stage with an anticipated completion date of March 31.

Dual-listed Westpac rose 90c to 3520 and ANZ rose 30c to 3080.

Auckland Airport rose 1c to 119 and Tourism Holdings rose 2c to 95. Hellaby rose 5c to 165 and Restaurant Brands rose 4c to 182.

SkyCity rose 2c to 321 and Cavalier Carpets rose 2c to 272.

Stocks losing ground included Contact Energy down 4c to 615, Mainfreight down 2c to 586 and Nuplex down 4c to 340. Pike River Coal fell 1c to 85 and NZOG was unchanged at 153.

Allied Farmers fell 0.6c to 7.9 after the company wrote down the value of the loan book of recently purchased Hanover and United Finance. PGG Wrightson was unchanged at 61 and Affco rose 1c to 38.

Delegats rose 1c to 210.

In the United States stocks ended slightly higher as mergers and acquisitions supported some sectors, while investors pared gains in big-cap technology and bank shares late in the session.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.02 percent to 10,405.98. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.23 percent to 1118.31, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.32 percent to 2280.79.

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