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NZ sharemarket starts week with a gain

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 26 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket ended higher but off its best levels as Asian markets rallied on strong US economic data and relief that Greece moved to seek help for its economy.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 4.591 points, or 0.139 percent, at 3306.252. Turnover was worth $48 million. There were 47 rises and 33 falls among the 115 stocks traded.

Pumpkin Patch rose 2c to 222 after announcing it will open a new chain of stores targeted at the everyday wear end of the children's clothing market.

The company said the move would leverage off existing infrastructure. Brokers said the key issue was whether the new budget label damaged the existing brand. The company said it would have different "hand writing".

"The market is just following on the US market, but is a bit subdued because Australia is not open," said Stephen Wright at ASB Securities.

Among leading shares, Contact Energy was up 2c to 624, Telecom lifted 1c to 220 and Fletcher Building gained 1c to 845.

Auckland Airport was up 1c to 202, after reporting a 3.9 percent rise in international passenger volumes last month compared to a year earlier. Nuplex lifted 1c to 337, and Air NZ rose 2c to 139.

Retailer Kirkcaldie & Stains rose 5c to 290 after reporting on Friday that first half net profit rose 50.4 percent to $725,000, despite a 4.2 percent fall in revenues to $21.96 million.

TrustPower rose 10c 750 and Port of Tauranga rose 10c to 700. The Warehouse rose 7c to 389. Vector rose 4c to 219.

NZ Refining eased 5c to 370 and Sanford eased 4c to 441. SkyCity eased 6c to 322. Mainfreight eased 1c to 660. SouthPort fell 27c to 258.

In the United States, stocks rose to a 19-month high on Friday as Merck eased concerns about the impact of healthcare reform, saying its costs will be relatively low, while energy shares lifted the broad market after oil rose 1.7 percent to above $US85 a barrel on positive economic data.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.6 percent to 11,204.28, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.7 percent to 1217.28, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.4 percent to 2530.15.

For the week, the S&P 500 was up 2.1 percent, the Dow gained 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq rose 2 percent. It was the eighth straight week of gains for the Dow and Nasdaq, while the S&P has gained in seven of the past eight weeks.

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