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MARKET CLOSE: NZX lifts nearly 10pts, despite post-Budget slip


Thursday 19th May 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket's benchmark NZX-50 index lifted nearly 10 points today on the back of a rebound in overseas stock markets, even though its cornerstone stock Telecom resiled from yesterday's 14-month high.

The NZX-50 index finished at 3568.99, up 9.44 points -- 0.265 percent .

Across the full exchange, turnover was 56.6m shares, valued at $124.6 million, with 46 rises and 25 falls among the 105 stocks traded.

Today's intraday high at 3571 at noon was the highest level reached by the index in nearly three years.

But from there the index dipped and bumped its way down through the afternoon, spiking three or four times in the wake of the budget announcements.

Telecom finished down 4.5c at 233, as some investors realised yesterday's announcement the Government had pulled a regulatory holiday from its ultrafast broadband plan did not necessarily mean Telecom was in pole position to build the network. Yesterday Telecom shares climbed as high as 240 in intraday trading, their highest level in 14 months.

Ryman Healthcare charged ahead 8c in early trade but finished up 6c at 268 after the aged care and retirement village operator announced a 17 percent rise in full year underlying profit to $72 million, with plans to build 550 units or beds a year.

NZX gained 6c to 242. Most of this ground was covered before the formal announcement in the budget that the Government hopes to sell off stakes in Mighty River Power, Meridian, Genesis and Solid Energy -- and later Air New Zealand -- to collect up to $7 billion.

Opening ownership up to the private sector will potentially add 10 percent to the market capitalisation of the NZX. Market analyst Mark Lister, from Craigs Investment Partners, said the plan was "a huge boost" for the NZX.

Port of Tauranga spiked again, jumping 10c to 905, even though its chief executive, Mark Cairns, moved to quash media speculation and said merger talks between itself and council-controlled Ports of Auckland was not on the cards at this stage. The port, the nation's biggest export hub, has lifted nearly 20 percent in it share price so far this year.

Steel and Tube rose 7c to 269. Fletcher building rose 11c to 911.

NZ Refining Co added 3c in early trading but by the end of the day had fallen 7c to 448.

Across the Tasman, where investors were buying into stocks after several days of losses, the Australian sharemarket rallied today, with broad-based gains led by energy stocks and the top miners after copper prices had their biggest one-day advance in two months.

At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 62.7 points, or 1.3 percent, at 4756.4, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 62.9 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4828.2.

All sectors were in the black, with energy jumping 2.1 percent, materials rising 1.5 percent and financials up 1.3 percent.

Globally, a rally in commodity prices from steep losses helped lift share prices, with US stocks recording their best day in three weeks, led by gains in energy and basic materials shares, while a more than 5 percent jump in the stock of computer maker Dell boosted the technology sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.65 percent to 12,560.18, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.9 percent to 1340.68, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 1.1 percent to 2815.00.

World stocks as measured by MSCI jumped 0.9 percent, bouncing off five days of losses, while Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.4 percent.

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