Wednesday 16th February 2011
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The New Zealand sharemarket closed on a quiet note despite Fletcher Building reporting promising half year results.
Shares in New Zealand's biggest construction company fell 4c in early trading, after reporting a 8% rise in half year net profit, but made a modest comeback later in the day, rising 2c to $8.23.
Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) said total sales for the six months to the end of December were 2.2% higher than a year earlier as a result of increased volumes in many of the company's Australian businesses.
The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 5.61 points to 3384.48, after gaining 6 points yesterday.
Sky City (NZX: SKC ), which said it lifted its half year normalised net profit 2.1%, fell 4c to $3.29.
The casino and hotel operator, which reported a flattish half year, is pushing hard to establish itself as Auckland's entertainment hub, with capital spending of $50 million on the facilities this financial year.
The sharemarket fell in early trading as miner OceanaGold gave up some of the gain of almost 10% it made yesterday.
OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) shares fell 8c to $3.67 having risen 33c yesterday after reporting an increase in its South Island reserves.
Steel & Tube Holdings (NZX: STU ) added 3c to $2.50 after last week reporting an improved half year net profit of $8.4 million. Vector (NZX: VCT ) added 1c to $2.50 on the day it announced it was appealing Commerce Commission decisions over input methodologies for the electricity distribution sector.
Kathmandu Holdings (NZX: KMD ) fell 1c to $2.12, Telecom (NZX: TEL ) eased 1c to $2.23, Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) fell 2c to $6.20 and Sanford (NZX: SAN ), the fisheries company, added 5c, or just over 1%, to $5.00.
In the US, stocks closed lower after a surprisingly weak retail sales report.
The Commerce Department said US retail sales rose just 0.3% in January, the smallest increase since June and half of what economists had predicted.
According to preliminary figures, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3% to 12,226, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 0.3% to 1328, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.4% to 2804.
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