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Restaurant Brands Shines Early On NZ Sharemarket

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 4 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket started the day positively, with Restaurant Brands lifting 4.4 percent early to its highest level in 7-1/2 years.

After dropping below 60c in late 2008, shares in Restaurant Brands -- which operates the New Zealand outlets of KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks Coffee -- rose strongly through 2009. Early today the share price was up 8c to 190.

The wider market also gained early, with the benchmark NZX-50 index up 5.44 points to 3203.96 around 10.20am. The index has lifted for the previous six straight trading days as it pulls away from a 5-1/2 month low around 3060 in mid-February.

Among leading shares, Fletcher Building gained 2c early today to 812, on top of a 13c rise yesterday with the company seen as benefiting from stronger than expected Australian growth, as well as a decline in the New Zealand dollar against its trans-Tasman counterpart. Telecom edged up 1c to 222, but Contact Energy lost 6c to 609.

Hellaby Holdings lost 5c to 160, Pumpkin Patch lost 4c to 210, while Tenon was up 3c to 104, The Warehouse gained 2c to 393, and Auckland Airport lifted 2c to 193.

In the United States, stocks ended little changed as worries about bank regulation and a setback for drug company Pfizer offset signs of improvement in the labour market and services sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.1 percent to close at 10,396.76, according to preliminary figures. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.04 percent at 1118.79, and the Nasdaq Composite Index

fell marginally to 2280.68.

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