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NZ Sharemarket Up 1.4 Pct In Light Trade

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 6 NZPA - For a third trading day the New Zealand sharemarket gained more than 1 percent, suggesting that at least some investors see reason to hope the new year will be better than 2008.

With markets in Japan and Australia also showing firmness, the benchmark NZSX-50 index ended today up 38.49 points or 1.4 percent to 2783.38. Yesterday the index gained nearly 1.1 percent and on the last trading day before that, New Year's Eve, lifted 1.4 percent.

There were 50 rises and 21 falls, with 96 stocks traded. Total turnover was 20,198,329 shares for a value of $45,244,152.

Bryon Burke of ABN AMRO Craigs said that with most people still on holiday, stocks were rising on light turnover today.

Following on from yesterday the trend was of investors realigning their portfolios, to get themselves set for their picks for the year. Little in the market today was specific to any particular stock, although with The Warehouse, new sales figures had not been quite as bad as people were possibly expecting.

Shares in The Warehouse rose 10c to 358, after the company said sales for the 10 weeks to January 4, covering the critical Christmas period, were down 2.5 percent from a year ago.

Adjusted group first half net profit to January 25 was expected to be similar to last year's figure of $56.8 million.

Mr Burke said that earlier in December many people would have been expecting a larger drop in sales.

The retail sales information available so far for the Christmas period had not been "so bad" in this country, he said.

"I think people are taking a fresh approach and saying, `well maybe the market has fully priced in the downturn we're in'."

Among leading stocks in this country, Telecom closed up 6c at 235, Fletcher Building gained 8c to 589, and Contact Energy added 10c to 753.

Sky TV was up 20c to 395, Sanford added 15c to 545, Port of Tauranga rose 13c to 665, and Cavalier Corp was up 11c to 187.

NZ Refining Co was up 10c to 590, Hellaby Holdings gained 7c to 137, Hallenstein Glasson was up 5c to 220, with Fisher & Paykel Appliances adding 4c to 139.

Stocks losing ground included Mainfreight, which fell 10c to 490, NZX which was down 8c to 535 and Sky City down 3c to 312.

Among dual-listed stocks, ANZ rose 40c to 1870 and Westpac gained 30c to 2080.

In the US, stocks fell as investors booked profits after last week's run-up, while concerns about slowing cell phone sales hit shares of the biggest telecommunications companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.9 percent to 8952.89, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 0.5 percent to 927.45, and the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 0.3 percent to 1628.03.

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