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Sharemarket Shrugs Off Flat Open To Close Higher

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 18 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket posted gains in thin trading today care of rises in selected leading shares, most notably Telecom and Contact Energy.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 31.313 points, or 1 percent, at 3154.229 after initially opening flat. Turnover was worth $94.7 million. There were 45 rises and 29 falls among the 114 stocks traded.

Telecom rose 9c to 248 and Contact rose 19c to 595. Brokers said there seemed to be a lack of sellers on the day but the rises helped the market out perform other markets in Asia.

Markets are becoming quieter as the Christmas holiday break looms, but gross domestic product and balance of payments data next week may give investors something new to think about.

NZ Refining fell 30c to 360 on top of yesterday's 15c fall when a company statement highlighted its difficult trading environment.

PGG Wrightson was unchanged at 66 and expressed satisfaction with a 95.1 percent takeup rate in its now closed rights issue.

Allied Farmers fell 1.33 percent to 14.8c and it said today it had satisfied conditions to progress the purchase of Hanover and United Finance assets.

Infratil was unchanged at 165 and said in a newsletter it has significantly advanced a plan to buy assets in New Zealand from Shell and expects to complete the transaction in early 2010.

ANZ rose 10c to 2660 on the day of its annual meeting in Australia. Westpac rose 40c to 2935 and AMP rose 8c to 800 after National Australia Bank topped its bid of Axa Asia Pacific.

Fletcher Building rose 1c to 766, Auckland Airport rose 3c to 192 and TrustPower rose 6c to 726.

Hallenstein Glasson rose 11c to 326 after saying yesterday it could comfortably bear last year's profit if it gets good sales in the next few weeks.

Sky TV rose 6c to 499 and Freightways rose 10c to 325. Tourism Holdings was unchanged at 80 but faced a query about recent strength in its share price today.

Port of Tauranga fell 9c to 691, Methven fell 1c to 168 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 7c to 326. Xero rose 8c to 160 and Vector fell 2c to 197.

In the United States, stocks fell as the US dollar's rebound spurred a safe-haven trade, cutting demand for riskier assets, while a soft profit outlook from economic bellwether FedEx sank transportation shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.3 percent to end at 10,308.26, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.2 percent to 1096.08, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.2 percent to 2180.05.

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