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MARKET CLOSE: NZX lifts again in quiet day


Monday 21st March 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket closed higher after clawing its way back up in a late rally after 3pm, regaining ground lost as the benchmark NZX-50 index slumped for more than an hour to the levels seen late last week.

In a relatively quiet day, the NZX-50 index quickly lifted 7.88 points to 3347.39, after gaining 9.9 points on Friday, but shortly before 2pm profit-taking saw it slide back to 3340.72. At 3pm buyers decided it had fallen far enough and brought it back up to finish 8.856 points to 3348.36, a lift of 0.256%.

The 64.9 million shares traded were valued at $173m.

Among key shares, cornerstones stock Telecom (NZX: TEL ) gained 5c to $1.98, and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) fell 1c to $5.74, despite having been up 3c in the early buying. Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) did better, falling 6c early in the day -- reversing most of Friday's 8c gain -- only to finish at $8.73, down 3c.

OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) was up 6c to $3.40, Sanford (NZX: SAN ) added 4c to $5.00, Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) gained 6c to $3.12, Vector (NZX: VCT ) lifted 2.5%, up 6c to $2.41, and Abano Healthcare (NZX: ABO ) fell 2c to $4.30.

In the United States, stocks gained after a week of heightened volatility on Friday, but investors were reluctant to make big bets due to turmoil in the Middle East and Japan's nuclear crisis.

The Chicago Board options exchange volatility index fell 6.4% on Friday (local time) but was still up 23% on the week.

Bank shares jumped as the Federal Reserve announced it will allow some US banks to boost or restart dividend payments, while the Bank of Japan bought billions of dollars to restrain a soaring yen and was followed by US and European central bank purchases.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 0.7% at 11,858.52, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.4% at 1279.21, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.3% at 2643.67.

The Dow fell 1.5% in the week while the S&P was off 1.9% and the Nasdaq, in its fourth straight down week, sank 2.6%.

The Australian sharemarket closed higher after a late rally in the financial sector, brokers said but caution remained as investors continued to digest developments on fighting in Libya and the nuclear emergency in Japan.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index climbed 16.4 points, or 0.4%, to 4642.8, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 18.3 points, or 0.4%, to 4734.1.

Among the major sectors, energy shares added 0.9% on the back of a rise in the oil price, financials rose 0.7% and materials inched up 0.1%.


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