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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket starts week on back foot

Monday 21st February 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket started the week on the back foot with declines in key shares, including Telecom and Fletcher Building.

The benchmark NZX-50 index fell a whopping 30 points to 3381.93, after reaching a high on Friday when it closed up 17 points.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) lost 9c to $8.30, Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) eased 6c to $6.19, and Telecom (NZX: TEL ) fell 5c to $2.20.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) shares dropped 3c, or just over 5%, to $5.40 after a second possible bidder ruled itself out of the running for the company.

PGG Wrightson said a party that had been interested in the company had decided it would not be making a formal takeover offer. A partial takeover offer by shareholder Agria Corp continues.

Cavalier Corp (NZX: CAV ) lifted 5c to $3.28 after reporting a half-year lift in sales and profit, fishing company Sanford (NZX: SAN ) added 12c and Sky City (NZX: SKC ) gained 1c to $3.30.

Meanwhile, Sky TV (NZX: SKT ) fell 13c to $5.45, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) fell 5c to $3.04, Trustpower (NZX: TPW ) dropped 2c to $7.20, while Abano Healthcare (NZX: ABA ) gained 1c to $4.66, and Xero (NZX: XRO ) added 2c to $2.65.

Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) fell 3c to $3.72, ahead of the release of its half-year results on Thursday, The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) eased 4c to $3.51 and OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) dropped 14c to $3.71.

In the US, late arrivals to the speediest rally in stocks since the Great Depression pushed stocks higher for a third week on Friday (local time), despite growing signals of an overheating market.

Analysts said investors appeared reluctant to sell despite slack volume and a narrowing spread between winners and losers.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.6% to 12,391.25, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.2% to 1343.01, and the Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.1% to 2833.95.



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