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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket ends little changed

Wednesday 27th April 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket ended little changed today ahead of an official cash rate review tomorrow by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and statements by the Federal Reserve.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 5.56 points, or 0.159%, at 3492.043 after opening up 6.29 points. Strong corporate earnings helped push US stocks to their best levels since June 2008 on Tuesday US time but Australian stocks fell today on higher than expected inflation data.

The RBNZ is expected to hold the official cash rate at 2.5% at 9am tomorrow and not raise it until the fourth quarter.

"Our read of the economy is that recent data shows a recovery was in progress before the quake and that while the quake had a significant effect on Christchurch, the broader economy has been firming," HSBC said.

Tower Investments said that the rebuild of Christchurch will benefit companies like Fletcher Building, Steel & Tube, and Cavalier.

Business confidence rebounded in the National Bank Business Outlook survey today, particularly in Christchurch.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) closed down 5c at $9.14 after rising to 923, Telecom (NZX: TEL ) was down 1.5c to $2.11.5, and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) was unchanged on $5.86.

Steel & Tube (NZX: STU ) was down 2c to $2.61. Tower (NZX: TWR ) was down 3c at $1.86 and Sanford (NZX: SAN ) was down 9c at $5.50. Ryman Healthcare (NZX: RYM ) was down 1c at $2.47.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) rose 7c to $.316, Xero (NZX: XRO ) rose 5c to $2.56 and Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) rose 5c to $3.14. SkyCity (NZX: SKC ) rose 3c to $3.48 and Auckland Airport (NZX: AIA ) rose 2c to $2.24.5. Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) rose 1c to $9.30 and Skellerup (NZX: SKL ) rose 1c to $1.31. Infratil (NZX: IFT ) rose 2c to $1.87.

In the US, the fresh batch of corporate results renewed optimism that profit growth will remain resilient enough to keep equities on the rise.

Ford Motor Co, 3M Co and United Parcel Services Inc were among the bellwether names to impress, continuing a string of better-than-expected results. 3M and UPS also raised their full-year profit outlooks.

"It is really from the multinationals that have been reporting good numbers and speaking of good things to come - these are big, big blue chips that are starting to see a bright light," said Joseph Benanti, managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York.

The three major US stock indexes hit fresh highs for the year, with the Nasdaq Composite Index climbing to its highest level since October 2007.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.9% to 12,595.37, a fresh three-year high, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.9% to 1347.24, its best since June 2008, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.8% to end at 2847.54.



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