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NZ sharemarket rises slightly, reverses earlier weakness

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 24 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket edged higher today with the help of strength in Fletcher Building and other leaders.

The focus is also turning to mid-cap stocks, with many due to report later this week, particularly on Thursday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 7.862 points, or 0.261 percent, at 3024.638. There were 34 rises and 38 falls among the 108 stocks traded.

James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital, said the star performer on the day was Fletcher Building, which rose 13c to 753.

Telecom fell 4c to 203, having risen sharply from 199 to 207 in the last two hours of trading yesterday.

Mr Lee said the market was fairly quiet as investors waited for a large number of results form mid-sized companies later this week.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay closed up 7c at 70, the new price that Singapore-based Olam International is bidding at.

SkyTV rose 12c to 510 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 8c to 285. Nuplex rose 3c to 293 and Mainfreight rose 11c to 681.

Sanford fell 8c to 392 and Telstra fell 9c to 368. Freightways fell 3c to 285 and Port of Tauranga fell 5c to 670.

Charlie's rose 1c to 10 after reporting a return to profit and expansion plans in Australia.

In the US, stocks gave back early gains and fell as a slew of corporate takeover activity, usually a sign of investor optimism, was outweighed by concerns about the global economy.

Analysts said the recent spate of mergers and acquisition activity also pointed to companies continuing to make profits through cost cutting rather than through revenue growth, and highlighted the economy's weakness.

Mergers also typically lead to job cuts, casting another shadow over an already weak US labour market.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.4 percent to 10,174.41, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 0.4 percent to 1067.36, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.9 percent to 2159.63.

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