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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket slips but profits well received

Thursday 24th February 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket fell today but brokers said many of the profit results reported by companies were good and well-received by investors.

The shares of Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ), the nation's largest building firm, rose to $8.65, the highest level since last September, before closing up 3c at $8.58. The company is expected to be involved in the reconstruction of earthquake devastated Christchurch.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 3.716 points, or 0.11%, at 3368.353. Turnover was worth $125 million. There were 35 rises and 41 falls among the 113 shares traded.

Companies reporting earnings today included Auckland Airport, Port of Tauranga, Nuplex, Ebos, Air New Zealand and Tourism Holdings.

"Even though the market is flat it has been a good day as far as result go," Ross Cuthbert at Craigs Investment Partners said.

Auckland Airport beat expectations and the underlying trends in the Port of Tauranga result were positive.

"There is a lot of traffic going through these kinds of companies," he said.

Air New Zealand's result was good, while Nuplex disappointed.

Auckland Airport (NZX: AIA ) rose 2c to $2.26, Port of Tauranga (NZX: POT ) rose 12c to $7.85 and Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ) fell 2c to $1.32. Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) fell 20c to $3.39.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) fell 5c to $2.11 and SkyCity (NZX: SKC ) fell 4c to 43.27 and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) rose 3c to $6.23. Hallenstein Glassons (NZX: HLG ) fell 6c to $3.65 on a day it named a new chief executive.

NZ Refining (NZX: NZR ) fell 9c to $4.61 but OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ) rose 20c to $3.80. APN News (NZX: APN ) rose 5c to $2.31.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) rose a cent to 51, while Pyne Gould Corp (NZX: PGC ) eased a cent to 31. Ebos (NZX: EBO ) fell 5c to $7.40 after reporting a strong interim profit.

Skellerup (NZX: SKL ) eased a cent to 41.25 and Steel & Tube (NZX: STU ) eased a cent to $2.54. Tourism Holdings (NZX: THL ) fell a cent to 60.

NZX (NZX: NZX ) eased 3c to 41.62, Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) eased 4c to $1.39 and Westpac (NZX: WBC ) fell 15c to $31.70.

In the US, stocks closed lower for a second straight session as Libya's violence sent oil prices up briefly to $US100 a barrel and tech shares sank, adding credence to calls for a market correction.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.9% to end at 12,105.78, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.6% at 1307.40, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.2% at 2722.99.




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