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NZ Sharemarket Shrugs Off Early Weakness To Close Up

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 24 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket managed to turn around a weak start on the back of a weak US market to close higher on a day in which profit results were mixed.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 4.515 points, or 0.144 percent, at 3130.882. Turnover was worth $114 million of which $44.5m was in Telecom shares. There were 34 rises and 44 falls among the 110 stocks traded.

"The market opened down and even when Australia opened it stayed week. But support came into it," said Stephen Wright at ASB securities.

Telecom rose 2c to 232, which compares with a year low of 222 in March last year. Brokers said the adverse publicity about the company's XT network was not helping the stock.

"Our market has generally taken the XT problems in its stride but it certainly doesn't help," Mr Wright said.

"It is a lot of noise and it is a brand problem but Telecom is keen to get it fixed," he said.

Pike River Coal fell 5c to 89 after saying a $50m capital raising should be its last. Pike announced that shareholder NZOG will refinance a bond facility with Liberty Harbor. NZOG, which reported an interim loss today, fell 2c to 155.

Tourism Holdings shares were mixed after the company reported a return to profit in the six months to December 31 before closing down 1c at 95.

Rubicon shares were on trading halt ahead of a capital raising.

Contact Energy rose 17c to 589 after easing yesterday on a flat profit report. TrustPower was unchanged at 734. State-owned power companies Meridian and Genesis both announced strong results today.

Fletcher Building rose 2c to 797. Freightways rose 3c to 299 while Mainfreight fell 4c to 590.

Port of Tauranga fell 7c to 698 and Sanford fell 6c to 452. SkyTV fell 1c to 487 and The Warehouse rose 2c to 375. Ebos fell 3c to 597 and Hellaby fell 2c to 148.

Air New Zealand, Auckland Airport and Port of Tauranga are among the companies still to report earnings this week.

In the US, stocks suffered their biggest one-day drop in nearly three weeks after the sharp drop in consumer confidence heightened worries over a vulnerable part of the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1 percent to close at 10,282.41, according to preliminary figures. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 1.2 percent to close at 1094.62, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.3 percent to end at 2213.44.

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