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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket remains flat

Friday 8th April 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket was little changed for a second day after the United States market ended slightly down following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 5.08 points at 3445.28, having edged up just 0.48 points yesterday. Many markets in Asia posted gains, surprising some commentators.

The local market is consolidating after a run higher and is awaiting fresh direction. The Government's budget on May 19 is becoming a focus of investors and credit rating agencies, while a rise in the New Zealand dollar above US78c today looked to have momentum.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) rose 2c to $9.37, while Telecom (NZX: TEL ) eased 2c to $1.98.5.

Restaurant Brands (NZX: RBD ) eased a cent to $2.44 after rising yesterday on a strong profit report.

Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) eased 7c to $5.76 and Rakon (NZX: RAK ) eased 3c to $1.06. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) eased 5c to $3.06, Air NZ (NZX: AIR ) eased a cent to $1.11 and SkyCity (NZX: SKC ) eased 3c to $3.41. SkyTV (NZX: SKT ) eased 5c to $5.70 and NZOG (NZX: NZO ) eased a cent to 94.

Pyne Gould Corp (NZX: PGC ) rose a cent to 26, Ryman Healthcare (NZX: RYM ) rose 6c to $2.48 and Sanford (NZX: SAN ) rose 11c to $5.64.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) rose a cent to 43.

Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) rose 13c to $9.33 and TrustPower (NZX: TPW ) rose 3c to $7.28. Port of Tauranga (NZX: POT ) rose 3c to $8.34. AMP (NZX: AMP ) rose 8c to $7.60 and ANZ (NZX: ANZ ) rose 5c to $32.48.

In the US, stocks fell in morning trading but pared losses after the impact of the latest Japanese quake appeared to be less than initially feared, despite striking near the same area as the massive quake that triggered devastating tsunami four weeks ago.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 0.1% to 12,409.49, the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.2% to 1333.51, and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.1% to 2796.14.

US economic news was also mostly positive. The 382,000 people applying for unemployment for the first time last week. That was the third drop in four weeks, suggesting layoffs are slowing.

Major retailers also reported better-than-expected sales for March at stores that have been open at least a year. Analysts had predicted declines because of cold weather and higher gas prices.



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