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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket ends little changed, Fletcher rises

Friday 25th March 2011

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Fletcher Building's share price rose to its highest level in three years in a lacklustre sharemarket as the New Zealand firm built its stake in Australian plumbing and pipe company Crane Group.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 1.364 points, or 0.04%, at 3388.609.

IG Markets said it was a strong end to the trading week for many equity markets that were beaten down by last week's sell-off.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) closed up 8c at $9.03 and traded as high as $9.05, a level not seen since March 2008. The company today disclosed it holds 74.18% of Crane Group shares.

Scott Technology (NZX: SCT ) was unchanged at $1.42 despite reporting a strong interim profit, which allowed it to increase its dividend.

Postie Plus Group (NZX: PPL ) rose a cent to 28 and was upbeat in its interim result even though it experienced very tough trading conditions. Hallenstein Glassons (NZX: HLG ) rose 7c to $3.80 and Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) rose 2c to $2.22.

Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) eased 4c to $8.75 after yesterday getting 100% support from shareholders for its European acquisition.

OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) rose 14c to $3.69 and NZ Refining (NZX: NZR ) rose 5c to $5.05. Sanford (NZX: SAN ) rose 9c to $5.10. Goodman Fielder (NZX: GFF ) rose 5c to $1.63.

Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) eased 2c to $5.76 and Telecom (NZX: TEL ) eased 3c to $196.5. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) eased 2c to $3.12, and Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ) rose 0.5c to 59.5.

SkyCity (NZX: SKC ) eased a cent to $2.37 and TrustPower (NZX: TPW ) eased 4c to $7.20.

In the US, stocks advanced as optimism about upcoming earnings and investor buying of the quarter's top performers lifted the Standard & Poor's 500 Index above a key technical level.

The S&P 500 broke above its 50-day moving average at 1305, leading investors to believe the market may have absorbed the worst of its recent pullback caused by Japan's earthquake and tumult in the Arab world, positioning stocks for another move higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.7% to 12,170.56, the S&P 500 climbed 0.9% to 1309.66, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.4% to 2736.42.

Semiconductor stocks were among the best performers and helped boost the Nasdaq after Micron Technology Inc posted a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street's forecasts.



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