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MARKET CLOSE: NZX lifts again with tenth day of gains

Tuesday 29th March 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket lifted again today, with the benchmark NZX-50 index rising 13.138 points (0.385%) to finish at 3421.187 - its 10th successive day of gains.

The NZX-50 index yesterday gained 19.4 points.

Today it notched up the additional gains even though Fletcher Building - a key beneficiary of the proposed Christchurch reconstruction - lost 7c of the 20c gain it retained yesterday after spiking to a three-year high of $9.28.

Today, Fletcher (NZX: FBU ) finished trading at $9.17 as 4.8m shares changed hands, with the company saying it had control of more than 87% of pipe-maker Crane Group.

OceanaGold fell (NZX: OGC ) 20c (5.26%) to $3.60. It operates the nation's biggest goldmine, Macraes, and the Reefton goldfield, and announced today that it had found of further gold-bearing deposits in drilling tests at Otago's Frasers underground mine.

NZ Refining Co (NZX: NZR ) dropped nearly 2%, by 10c to $4.95.

Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) rose 12c to $8.87, Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ) was up 10c to $7.60, The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) added 4c to $3.49, Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ) lifted 1c to $1.11.

Cornerstone stock Telecom (NZX: TEL ) rose 3c to $2.02 as the company asked the Government for an easier ride on its regulatory costs from providing rural internet links.

GPG's insurer Tower (NZX: TWR ) was up 8c to $1.88, despite having said that it is likely to face extra costs of more than $15 million from the Christchurch earthquakes.

Across the Tasman, Australian stocks bounced from early lows to finish at a three-week high, though trading involved relatively small volumes in the run-up to the end of the first quarter.

At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 22.2 points, or 0.5%, at 4755.8, after falling as low as 4721.5 in early trade. The broader All Ordinaries gained 19.3 points, or 0.4%, to 4834.2.

Among the major sectors, financials gained 0.4%, energy rose 0.3% and materials added 0.2%.

In the US, stocks spent most of the day in positive territory driven by strength in the telecommunications sector and consumer spending data.

But by the end of the day indices were down as the corporate outlook was clouded ahead of earnings and uncertainty continued to creep from abroad, while volume hit its lowest level of the year.

A warning from hotel operator Marriott International hurt hotel and other consumer shares, amid expectations of other negative corporate earnings pre-announcements.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.2% to 12,197.88, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.3% to 1310.19, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.5% to 2730.68.



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