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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket returns to 33-month high

Wednesday 30th March 2011

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Fletcher Building and Rakon both reported positive news about offshore expansions today and their share prices rose, helping drive the market back to a 33-month high.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 11.972 points, or 0.35%, to 3433.159. Turnover was worth $93.12 million. There were 46 rises and 31 falls among the 119 stocks traded. It was 11th successive trading day of gains - and during the session the index just pipped the 33-month high of 3437 reached on March 7.

Rakon (NZX: RAK ) was the top percentage gainer among the top stocks, rising 9.52%, or 10c, to $1.15 after expressing optimism about its new facility in China.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) rose to $9.27, and closed up 3c at $9.20, on a day it reached the 90% level needed to force remaining shareholders to sell in its takeover of Australian company Crane Group.

"Rakon's announcement was viewed very positively by the market. They are in a growth area of the manufacturing market and with the upcoming opening of their Chinese operation it is all looking pretty good for the company," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

Rakon's trading volume was the highest in a month.

Fletcher Building was "trucking on" and investors liked the story surrounding the huge building firm, Williamson said.

Abano Healthcare Group (NZX: ABA ) eased a cent to $4.50 after providing annual earnings guidance and saying it would maintain its annual dividend at 21 cents a share.

Otherwise there was demand for selected listed property trusts on the basis of the yield they paid. Argosy Property (NZX: ARG ) rose 2c to 73, but Goodman Property (NZX: GMT ) was unchanged at 93.

AMP (NZX: AMP ) rose 20c to $7.50 on the day its merger with AXA Australia became effective, giving it a quarter of the giant Australian retail superannuation market.

Tower (NZX: TWR ) rose as high as $1.92 in an ongoing recovery from a downgrade after the Christchurch earthquake but finished the day unchanged at $1.88.

Sanford (NZX: SAN ) rose 8c to $5.20, Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) rose 8c to $8.95 and SkyTV (NZX: SKT ) rose 6c to $5.60. The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) rose 2c to $3.51. Kathmandu Holdings (NZX: KMD ) rose 1c to $2.26.

NZ Refining (NZX: NZR ) eased 10c to $4.85, Freightways (NZX: FRE ) eased 3c to $3.25 and Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) eased 2c to $3.16. Vector (NZX: VCT ) eased 2c to 42.46 and Telecom  (NZX: TEL ) eased 0.5c to $2.01.5. Hallenstein Glassons (NZX: HLG ) eased 3c to 43.77. Infratil (NZX: IFT ) eased a cent to $1.91.

In the US, strength in energy lifted stocks as investors concentrated on adding to winning positions as the quarter winds down, but uncertainty kept trading volume light.

"I don't think a lot of people know what to do. They hear about how bullish it is to reconstruct Japan but until the disaster is quantified, they are not going to do anything," said Shawn Hackett, president of Hackett Advisors in Boynton Beach, Florida.

"When the market doesn't know what to do, it tends to go up on low volume and down on higher volume because when people get nervous, they sell."

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.7% to 12,279.01, the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.7% to 1319.44, and the Nasdaq Composite added 1% to 2756.89.



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