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Sharemarket closes steady, Fletcher Building loses steam

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Sept 22 NZPA -The New Zealand sharemarket ended flat as Fletcher Building lost steam but some selected second line stocks rose.

Restaurant Brands, which owns KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Hut franchises, set a new record high today at 261 but closed down 3c at 256.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 0.393 points, or 0.012 percent, at 3236.363 after initially opening down 2.662 points. The index had risen for the four previous days.

Today's release of the current account deficit, for the June quarter, may also have contributed to the fall, Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson said. The deficit was slightly weaker than expected mostly because foreign-owned companies made bigger profits. Gross Domestic product data for the June quarter is due tomorrow.

Fletcher Building fell 6c to 860 after reaching levels not seen since May 2008 yesterday.

The largest building company's shares have been in demand since Canterbury's massive earthquake, as local and offshore investors anticipate its involvement in the estimated $4 billion reconstruction.

Vector rose 2c to 224 -- the highest level in over a year, said Mr Williamson.

The market had also responded well to director changes at Guinness Peat Group, he said. The investment company run by Sir Ron Brierley today named four new independent directors as it rebuilds after the departure of New Zealand-based director Tony Gibbs. Its share price rose 1c to 67.

Telecom fell 3c to 203 and Contact Energy rose 2c to 577.

Pumpkin Patch was unchanged at 195 after reporting a 76 percent rise in profit in a subdued retail environment and signalling plans to open 22 stores.

Air New Zealand was unchanged at 129 on day when chief executive Rob Fyfe said the Australian competition watchdog's draft determination to block an alliance with Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd would threaten the airline's future.

Mainfreight fell 1c to 720, TrustPower fell 2c to 738, and Michael Hill was unchanged at 71.

ING Medical Properties was down 1c to 71, and SkyTV was down 1c to 522.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was up 4c at 315.

NZF Group fell 10c to 10c after the finance company told shareholders today that the downfall of Allied Nationwide Finance and South Canterbury Finance had had a negative impact on reinvestment rates.

Charlies fell 4.17 percent to 9.2c. Allied Farmers shares were little changed at 2.6c.

Oceanagold rose 5c to 520 as gold prices trade at record highs.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 7.41 points, or 0.07 percent, at 10,761.03. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.93, or 0.26 percent, at 1139.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 6.48 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2349.35.

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