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NZ Shares Match Yesterday's Gains As Bargain Hunters Return

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 17 NZPA - The sharemarket matched yesterday's small gains as bargain hunters brought some activity back to the market.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 20.4 points, or 0.8 percent, at 2564.72, after rising 20.9 points yesterday. Turnover was just $54.8 million.

"Once again I think just confidence returning in a small way to investors who are continuing to bargain hunt, in particular Fletcher Building ... and also Telecom coming into some good interest," said Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson.

Top stock Telecom rose 7c, or 3 percent, to 235.

"Bit of bargain hunting, and the stock's been quite weak recently when the rest of the market's probably been improving," Mr Williamson said.

Fletcher Building rose 15c to 570 and Kiwi Income Property Trust was a cent higher at 104.

Other blue chips softened. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 5c to 330, F&P Appliances was down 3c at 46, Sky City lost 5c to 275 and Sky TV fell 6c to 377.

Pike River Coal lost earlier small gains to close flat at 81c, after yesterday announcing its rights issue was fully underwritten and had institutional support.

Retailer Briscoe Group rose 2c to 64, having closed steady yesterday in the wake of a 48-percent decline in annual profit and little prospect of improvement in the retail market in the coming year.

Fellow retailer The Warehouse was down 6c at 349, Pumpkin Patch rose a cent to 107, and Hallenstein Glassons was 5c higher at 210.

Sanford jumped 20c to 585, Rakon gained 4c to 122, NZ Farming Systems Uruguay was up 3c at 60, PGG Wrightson gained 6c to 106, Guinness Peat Group rose 2c to 74 and NZX gained 10c to 600.

On the decline, Mainfreight lost 4c to 385, Port of Tauranga was down 3c at 515 and Trustpower fell 5c to 710.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 2.8 percent at 3443, while Japan's Nikkei share average was up 2.9 percent.

Earlier on Wall Street, stocks fell after American Express said the number of people struggling to make credit card payments grew, erasing earlier optimism that banks could return to profit in the downturn.

It was Wall Street's first decline after a four-day winning streak.

NZPA WGT Reuters mfc nb

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