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NZ sharemarket rises slightly, Telecom rallies off low

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 22 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket managed a small rally today when other markets were weak mostly due to strength in Telecom and Fletcher Building.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 2.895 points, or 0.09 percent, at 3233.299. Turnover was worth $51 million. There were 22 rises and 50 falls among the 107 stocks traded.

"Telecom and Fletchers have pulled the index up today," said Ross Cuthbert, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "It's a pretty good result, The US was down and most of Asia was down today," he said.

Telecom rose 3c to 214 after hitting a new historic low on Friday. Fletcher Building rose 5c to 840.

Rakon rose 4c to 96 and Mr Cuthbert said it may be finding support under the $1 level.

Volume was higher than normal for NZ Windfarms, which today announced its chief executive was not renewing his contract. The stock was unchanged at 32c today after it fell sharply on Friday after announcing a discounted rights issue at 15c a share.

NZ Refining rose 14c to 390 but Infratil fell 1c to 165.

Auckland Airport fell 4c to 191 after announcing a rise in passenger numbers in February from a year ago. Air New Zealand was unchanged at 130 after announcing passenger numbers.

Kathmandu, which last week beat its earnings forecasts, fell 2c to 244.

Retailer Hallenstein Glasson fell 14c to 346, and Sky City fell 4c to 338, as both went ex-dividend.

Nuplex, The National Property Trust, Skellerup Holdings, Lyttelton Port, Tourism Holdings, and Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust were also ex-dividend today.

Tower fell 5c to 194, NZOG fell 1c to 156 and Mainfreight fell 8c to 605.

Mining companies did not appear to benefit from a government discussion paper proposing opening some areas in the conservation estate to mining. Pike River Coal fell 2c to 88 and OceanaGold fell 10c to 325.

In the United States, renewed worries about Greece sparked a climb in the greenback and weighed on US stocks.

Sectors sensitive to US dollar moves were hit hard, including materials, chip makers and energy.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.4 percent to end at 10,741.98, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 0.5 percent to 1159.90, and the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.7 percent to 2374.41.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.1 percent, the S&P added 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq gained 0.3 percent.

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