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MARKET CLOSE: NZ sharemarket ends little changed

Friday 28th January 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket finished little changed today, as key stock Fletcher Building remained in a trading halt which started before the market opened yesterday.

Reports out of Australia were saying that Fletcher Building has raised its takeover offer for Australian plumbing supplies group Crane Group, whose shares also went into a trading halt yesterday. The reports were not officially confirmed and no announcement had been made by the time the New Zealand market closed.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 1.7 points at 3352.635 after opening down 1.98 points.

The market is expected to be quiet on Monday due to the Auckland Anniversary holiday.

Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) was down 3c to $6.16 after reporting a fall in electricity customer numbers in December. TrustPower (NZX: TPW ) rose 1c to $7.20.

Michael Hill (NZX: MHI ) closed at 90c, the price Durante Holdings is offering in a bid to buy 5% of the company to take the Sir Michael Hill family above 50%. A Grant Samuel report said there is no compelling reason to accept the offer.

Shares in children's clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) fell 1c to $1.44, after tumbling 12c yesterday following a warning that it was expecting a fall in profit.

Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ) rose 19c to $7.60. SkyCity (NZX: SKC ) rose 5c to $3.29 and Ryman Healthcare (NZX: RYM ) rose 3c to $2.40. Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) rose 3c to $3.63 and NZX (NZX: NZX ) rose 1c to $1.75.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) rose 1c to $2.32.

Infratil (NZX: IFT ) fell 1c to $1.87, Sanford (NZX: SAN ) fell 1c to 502 and Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) fell 2c to $8.16. NZ Refining (NZX: NZR ) fell 2c to $4.63. The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) fell 3c to $3.66 and Hallenstein Glasson (NZX: HLG ) fell 1c to $3.86.

In the US, strong corporate earnings led Wall Street to a 29-month closing high for a second day, but mixed economic data and corporate earnings left the market unsure of direction.

Asian sharemakets eased today and investors are said to be cautious ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.04% to 11,989.83, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.2% to 1299.54, and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.6% to 2755.28.

Mixed economic data and corporate earnings left the market unsure of its direction.



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