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Sharemarket Rises As Year-End Approaches

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 29 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket firmed in thin trading today, buoyed by generally positive market movements offshore.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed 19.93 points, or 0.62 percent, higher at 3225.13. The modest $15.96 million turnover contributed to some substantial price movements -- particularly among heavyweight stocks.

Fletcher Building, which rose 5c on Christmas Eve, added another 5c to 800 today, while Telecom gained 8c to 253 and Contact Energy rose 3c to 609.

Grant Williamson, of Hamilton Hindin Greene, said with many market players away on holiday that led to small volumes being traded and sizeable moves among some stocks.

"There's no news in the marketplace, so it's all pretty boring," he said.

"Generally markets are firmer offshore which has helped push our market up and we can expect a continuation of that in this quiet week. Prices usually improve towards the end of December and there could be some book squaring on the last day.

"Expect a mildly positive week but not too much activity."

Increased aviation security in the wake of a Nigerian man's attempt to blow up a plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day had muted impact on New Zealand's aviation stocks.

While Infratil, which owns Wellington Airport and two UK airports, eased 3c to 164, Auckland Airport and Air New Zealand each closed unchanged at 200 and 118 respectively.

Amid the busiest retail trading season, retailers' stock prices were mixed today. Pumpkin Patch was up 1c to 202, Michael Hill International up 1c to 67, The Warehouse unchanged at 421 and Kathmandu down 3c to 205.

Other falls were posted by NZ Refining, down 16c to 369, Restaurant Brands 2c to 165, Fisher and Paykel Appliances 2c to 62 and Rakon 2c to 114, while rises included NZX up 7c to 235, Sanford 6c to 476, Tower 2c to 200 and Sky TV 4c to 497.

On Wall Street stocks dipped overnight as airline shares faltered amid security worries, while losses were limited by retail shopping data indicating improved consumer spending, Reuters reported.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 6.20 points, or 0.06 percent, at 10,513.90. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.93 points, or 0.17 percent, at 1124.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.37 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2284.32.

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