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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket creeps through holiday hiatus

Thursday 30th December 2010

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The NZX's benchmark index of its top 50 companies ended flatter than a flounder today, clawing its way to a 0.26% rise through the afternoon, after slipping a little in morning trade.

It ended the day up 8.648 points, at 3334.267, on a slightly increased volume of 8.35 million shares. In a continuation of subdued holiday trading, shares which changed hands were worth only $17.6m, a third of "normal" levels.

There were 31 rises and 32 falls among the total of 91 stocks traded.

In percentage terms, fishing company Sanford (NZX: SAN ) showed the biggest lift, a 14c rise to $4.74, up just over 3%.

The index was helped by its biggest stock, Telecom (NZX: TEL ), rising 1c to $2.19 as nearly 2.4m of its shares were traded.

Fisher and Paykel Health (NZX: FPH ) rose another 2c to $3.19, and Rakon (NZX: RAK ) also came up 2c, to $1.22, and Freightways (NZX: FRE ) rose 5c to $3.17 on small trades. Auckland International Airport (NZX: AIA ) rose 3c to $2.23, with over 800,000 shares changing hands.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ) fell 1c to $5.50, having warned shareholders of deteriorating retail trading conditions. New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZX: NZO ) rose 2.35% to 87c.

Most Asian stocks were slightly higher, though investors there also stayed on the sidelines in light trading ahead of the New Year holiday and also in the absence of fresh market leads.

In early trade, Japan's Nikkei slumped 1.1%, with losses also on Hong Kong's Hang Seng (0.1%) and China's Shanghai Composite (0.4%).

Across the Tasman, miners BHP Billiton, Newcrest Mining, and Eldorado Gold rose slightly in the wake of Wednesday's concerns about rises in China's interest rates, and after copper prices hit a record and gold and silver prices also lifted.

The benchmark ASX 200 index was up 20.3 points at 4795.5 late in the day.

In New York the Dow Jones Industrial average added 9.84 points, or 0.1%, to 11,585.38. The S&P 500 rose 1.27, or 0.1%, to 1,259.78. The technology-focused Nasdaq gained 4.05, or nearly 0.2%, to 2,666.93.



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