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Profit-Takers hit NZ shares, Infratil continues to rise

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 30 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket slipped a little today, despite a solid gain for top stock Telecom and continued support for infrastructure investor Infratil.

Profit-takers pushed the benchmark NZX-50 index down 1.5 points to 3249.65, after the index climbed more than 10 points yesterday to its highest close for 10 weeks.

Telecom shares gained 3c to 216, after the company's stock fell to a historic low 211 in the past week or so.

A fortnight ago, Telecom said reform of the Telecommunications Service Obligation would cost it up to $56 million in earnings a year for 2011-2013. Investors worried the reduced earnings would lead to a cut in dividend payment.

"A lot of the retail investors have hopped out, they pretty much got out with the rural situation with the broadband affecting earnings, and now the institutions seem to be back in control and are supporting the price," said Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson.

Infratil rose 4c to 172, adding to yesterday's 3c lift on news the company and the New Zealand Superannuation fund were buying Shell New Zealand's downstream assets.

On the down side, Contact Energy lost 8c to 618, Fletcher Building fell 3c to 835, Sky City was down 2c at 320, and Sky TV fell a cent to 532.

Among the smaller stocks, carpetmaker Cavalier lost 11c to 269, NZX fell 7c to 185, Steel and Tube was down 9c at 261 and Trustpower lost 6c to 724.

Mainfreight gained 12c to 625, Ebos rose 10c to 651, and Pumpkin Patch rose 4c to 220.

Nuplex was among the stocks to fall victim to profit-takers, losing 5c to 353 after earlier hitting a year high of 363.

Earlier on Wall Street, US stocks rose as miners and energy companies advanced on US dollar weakness and investors bought recent high fliers as the quarter's end approached.

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