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MARKET CLOSE: Telecom falls, Fletcher rises

Monday 28th February 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket posted modest gains on a day in which the Government predicted a $20 billion cost of the Christchurch earthquake.

NZX and Hellaby Holdings reported strong earnings today and a new name emerged in the takeover race for PGG Wrightson in which China's Agria has the lead.

While the Hill family succeeded in its move to ensure control of jewellery retailer Michael Hill International.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 6.609 points, or 0.196%, at 3370.523, having opened slightly lower. Turnover was worth $114.7 million. There were 40 rises and 39 falls among the 108 stocks traded.

Among the leaders, Telecom (NZX: TEL ) eased a cent to $2.08, but Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) rose 14c to $8.77 as the enormity of the task of rebuilding Christchurch continued to be a focus.

Australasian food giant Goodman Fielder (NZX: GFF ) fell a cent to $1.68 after reporting a 3.1% rise in interim profit and signalling the impact of natural disasters on its earnings.

"Continuing uncertainty around ongoing trading conditions and the cumulative impact of successive natural disasters will mean that the full year result is likely to be in line with the prior year's normalised earnings," the company said.

Retailers continued to update the market on the consequences of the Christchurch earthquake. Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) was unchanged at $2.09 after and update today.

Pyne Gould Corp (NZX: PGC ) was unchanged at 31 but late today reported earnings.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) rose 2c to 53 and is planning to talk to Zuellig Group, a Hong Kong based investment firm, which was reported to be interested in the corporate situation surrounding the rural services firm.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ) was unchanged at 57 on a day in which Keith Turner replaced Ralph Waters as chairman.

NZX (NZX: NZX ) jumped 9c, or 5.59%, to $1.70 after signalling growth in both its traditional and non-traditional businesses and increases in dividends.

Hellaby Holdings (NZX: HBY ) fell 5c to $2.10 even though it reported a turn around in its shoe retailing and equipment businesses in its profit report.

Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) fell 9c to $6.15, OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) fell 5c to $3.60, Michael Hill (NZX: MHI ) fell 1c to 87, Auckland Airport (NZX: AIA ) fell 2c to $2.22 and Hallenstein Glasson (NZX: HLG ) fell 2c to $3.63.

Xero rose 6c to 262 and Scott Technology rose 5c to 129.

In the US, stocks bounced from a three-day sell-off to rise on Friday (local time), as oil prices stabilised, but unease over the Libyan rebellion could be enough to keep buying in check.

Friday's bounce followed a late recovery Thursday that showed buyers were ready to support shares after a bout of selling.

Analysts have been calling for a correction in stocks, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index up 25.8% since the start of September. Much weaker-than-average volume on Friday cast doubt on stocks' ability to move higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.5% to end at 12,130.45, the S&P 500 advanced 1.1% to finish at 1319.88, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.6% to close at 2781.05.



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