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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket bounces unconvincingly


Wednesday 16th March 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket bounced today as bargain hunters purchased leading shares but the volatile situation in Japan is flowing on to markets.

The NZX-50 index closed up 12.664 points, or 0.382%, at 3326.801 after Wall Street reversed some of its steep losses. Turnover was worth $166.24 million. There were 38 rises and 46 falls among the 112 stocks traded.

"The market is recovering after yesterday's fall but it remains uncertain and cautious there are still major issues in Japan," said Grant Williamson at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

"The bargain hunters come in but the markets will remain pretty jittery until we get more clarification around Japan," he said.

Billions of dollars of value have been wiped from global stock markets in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan which has sparked a nuclear crisis. But the picture was more mixed today as some markets, including the Japanese stock market found support at lower levels.

"The news flow out of Japan continues to be very volatile; one minute everything is stable at the nuclear reactors and the next they are spewing smoke," IG Markets said.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) shares were up 1.5c to 1$.99, Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) initially lifted 6c but ended unchanged at $8.66 and Tower (NZX: TWR ) rose 8c to $1.79.

Air NZ (NZX: AIR ) rose 2c to $1.08, recovering some of a sharp fall yesterday on a profit warning, while Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) rose 10c to $8.75 and NZ Refining (NZX: NZR ) rose 7c to $5.05.

Technology stocks performed well today with Rakon (NZX: RAK ) rising 4c to $1.05 and Scott Technology rising 3c to $1.33.

DNZ Property (NZX: DNZ ) and Abano Healthcare both warned against low-ball offers from a company associated with businessman Bernard Whimp.

SkyCity, Skellerup, Nuplex, Auckland Airport and The National Property Trust were all trading ex-dividend today.

The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) rose 3c to $3.41, Kathmandu Holdings (NZX: KMD ) rose 4c to $1.94 and Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) was unchanged at $1.26.

In the United States, Wall Street dropped steeply before bouncing back.

The futures market, which can indicate how stocks will perform, looked so ugly before trading began that the New York Stock Exchange invoked a special rule to smooth volatility.

In addition to Japan, investors on Wall Street fretted about the Middle East, where Saudi Arabian troops moved into Bahrain and Libya's oil exports ground to a halt because of the rebellion against leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Stocks pared earlier losses after the Federal Reserve said that the US economy was on "firmer footing".

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 1.1% at 11,855.42, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 1.1% to 1281.87, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.3% to 2667.33.


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