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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket ends mixed session little changed

Wednesday 4th May 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket ended little changed on a day in which Kathmandu ran into resistance after touching a new high and Ryman Healthcare put in a strong performance.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up just 0.073 points at 3495.187. There were 31 rises and 49 falls among the 117 stocks traded.

Investors noted a fall in the New Zealand dollar, particularly against the Australian dollar, and waited for unemployment data tomorrow after receiving little direction from Wall Street.

Many Asian markets were weaker, with commentators citing lower commodity prices as a source of nervousness.

James Smalley, at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene, said retailers may be riding on the coattails of strong sales results from Kathmandu yesterday.

Outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) closed down 2c at $2.58 but rose to a new high of $2.64 after yesterday reporting a 30% rise in sales in the quarter ended May 1. The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) rose 2c to 43.73 and Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) rose 3c to $1.21.

Ryman Healthcare (NZX: RYM ) rose 5c to $2.56 ahead of its result on May 19. The high today of $2.58 has not been seen since 2007 when the stock was at an all time high. Investors still liked the story of its exposure to the trend of an ageing population.

Smalley said there was good volume traded today in Telecom and Guinness Peat Group but dual-listed stocks did not seem to reflect all of the benefit of the weak New Zealand dollar.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) rose 4c to $2.16.5 as investors shrugged off comments from the Commerce Commission yesterday about over-valuing its assets.

Westpac (NZX: WBC ) fell 79c to $31.55 on a day it reported a strong interim profit but investors said the stock had a strong run into the result.

Bathurst Resources (NZX: BTU ) fell 10c to $1.54 after completing a placement that raised $A55 million. Auckland Airport (NZX: AIA ) eased 0.5c to $2.22 even though it announced a large property deal with a Toll Holdings' subsidiary.

Argosy Property Trust (NZX: APT ) was unchanged at 79 on a day it said its assets in Albany sustained minimal damage from yesterday's tornado in Auckland.

APN News (NZX: APN ) fell 14c to 41.94 on light volume. Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) rose 6c to 49.11. PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) rose 4c to 50. TrustPower (NZX: TPW ) fell 11c to $7.44.

Shares in gold mining company OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) closed down 3c to $3.46, after commodities suffered the biggest one-day loss in two weeks on fears that huge price gains last month had made everything from oil to silver too costly.

In the US, stocks fell as investors questioned the sustainability of the market rally in light of fresh worries about earnings growth in coming quarters.

Investors targeted recent top performers, particularly energy shares, which were also hit by falling oil prices.

"We've had a great earnings season, but above that there's not much on the horizon to further gains in stocks," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.15 points to 12,807.51, the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.3% to 1356.62, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.8% to 2841.62.



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