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MARKET CLOSE: NZ sharemarket rises ahead of RBNZ satetment

Wednesday 8th December 2010

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The New Zealand sharemarket posted modest gains as other markets faltered today while investors waited for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's (RBNZ's) latest assessment of the economy tomorrow.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 12.478 points, or 0.38%, at 3294.336, after yesterday closing down 11.3 points.

Stuart Hardie at Craigs Investment Partners said strength in selective leaders pushed the index higher on a day there was little corporate news to trade on.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) gained 5c to 788, Auckland Airport (NZX: AIA ) gained 6c to 213 and TrustPower (NZX: TPW ) rose 8c to 730. Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) was unchanged at 617 after earlier being higher, while Telecom (NZX: TEL ) was unchanged at 215.

Before the market opened it was announced that a joint Telecom and Vodafone proposal was one of three short-listed for the Government's rural broadband initiative.

New Zealand equities offered attractive dividend yields while interest rates were expected to be little changed, Mr Hardie said. The RBNZ is expected to hold the official cash rate unchanged tomorrow.

"Interest rates look like they are going to be held until March or June and we are thinking a little bit later on," Mr Hardie said.

"Investors are going for blue chip companies that are paying a decent yield," he said.

Sky City (NZX: SKC ) eased 2c to 316, Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) was down only 1c at 760 after going ex a 9c dividend.

Sanford (NZX: SAN ) was unchanged at 476 on a day it went ex a 14c dividend.

Goodman Property Trust (NZX: GMT ) rose 2c to 94 after it agreed to acquire a property occupied by Carter Holt Harvey in Christchurch. Kiwi Income Property Trust (NZX: KIP ) rose 2c to 100 and Property for Industry (NZX: PFI ) was unchanged at 110.

Scott Technology (NZX: SCT ) was untraded after telling shareholders at its annual meeting about a strong order book. Xero (NZX: XRO ) gained 5c to 220.

Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ) fell 12c to 750, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) was down 4c to 313.

In the US stocks eked out a small gain as investors' enthusiasm over a tax cut extension deal was short-circuited by rising bond yields and reports regulators were stepping up an insider trading probe.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.03% at 11,359.16, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.1% at 1223.75, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.1% at 2598.49.

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