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NZ Shares Post Moderate Gains, Led By Top Stocks

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 16 NZPA - The sharemarket shrugged off concerns in overseas markets to close nearly 0.7 percent higher today, with leading stocks notching up moderate gains.

After closing almost flat yesterday, the benchmark NZSX-50 index rose 18.65 points to 2695.08. Turnover was $74.8 million.

"Overall, a reasonable tone to the market," said Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson.

The highlight was a nearly 3-percent gain for Fletcher Building, which closed up 17c at 593.

Top stock Telecom rose 4c, or 1.7 percent, to 240, and second-ranked Contact Energy was up 3c at 685.

Auckland Airport was up a cent at 166, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was flat at 296, and F&P Appliances lost 4c to 128.

Sky City fell 2c to 282, Sky TV gained 10c to 395, Infratil lost a cent to 169, and Kiwi Income Property Trust was up 2c at 102.

Jeweller Michael Hill International reversed earlier losses to close a cent higher at 61, after posting flat same-store sales for the five months ended November 30. Overall sales were up 7.9 percent at $147.6m.

"Difficult conditions, margins are getting squeezed -- it's the same story for pretty much all retailers that we hear from these days," Mr Williamson said.

There were healthy rises among some of the second-tier stocks.

The Warehouse bounced 17c, or 5 percent, to 342, Rakon was up 8c at 140, Nuplex recovered 18c to 298, Port of Tauranga was up 15c at 615, and Hallenstein Glasson was up 8c at 228.

On the down side, Mainfreight lost 8c to 442, Tower fell 4c to 135, Pumpkin Patch lost a cent to 104 and TrustPower was down 5c at 700.

Dual-listed stocks were hard-hit after declines of more than 1 percent in the S&P/ASX 200 Index in Australia.

ANZ fell 50c to 1750, Westpac fell 20c to 1980, Telstra shed 48c to 415 and Lion Nathan was down 62c at 950, but APN News and Media was 25c at 290.

Earlier on Wall Street, US stocks declined amid worries about bank profits and fallout from investment manager Bernard Madoff's alleged $US50 billion ($NZ91 billion) fraud.

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