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MARKET CLOSE: NZX rises again

Tuesday 10th May 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket rose over 10 points today in trading to lift the benchmark NZX-50 index to its highest level in nearly three years.

The index ended at 3528.754 points, up 9.764 points - a gain of 0.277%.

Much of that ground was captured in early trading, with the index jumping 6.63 points to kick off its fourth consecutive day of gains after finishing yesterday up 12.6 points.

A total of 37.7m shares change hands, valued at $110.4m. Among 122 stocks traded, there were 54 rises and 34 falls.

Cornerstone stock Telecom (NZX: TEL ) helped a lot by lifting 4.5c to $2.24, Restaurant Brands (NZX: RBD ) gained 4c to $2.48, Trustpower (NZX: TPW ) lifted 9c to $7.55, Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ) lifted 3c to 47.35.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ), $8.98 and Port of Tauranga (NZX: POT ) $8.70, finished on par.

Mainfreight (NZX: MFT )  lost 4c in early trading but clawed that back and finished up 5c at $9.24.

Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) fell 2c to $6.00 and Sky City (NZX: SKC ) lost 2c to $3.71.

In Australia, where volumes were down as traders waited on that country's budget speech, S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2% to 4,746.90, with shares of Australia's four biggest banks following a decline among financial stocks in New York. Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropped 0.3%, Westpac Banking Corp. was 0.9% down, National Australia Bank Ltd. lost 0.5%, and Australian and New Zealand Banking Group slipped 0.5%.

Melbourne market strategist Ben Potter noted that outside the budget uncertainty, the local market was still facing a number of headwinds, most notably the strength of the Aussie, the prospect of further rate hikes against climbing inflation and lower GDP growth.

"There is a genuine fear that households already struggling under the burden of spiralling food and energy prices won't be able to cope with added mortgage pressures," he said.

"At the end of the day, the Australian market simply isn't an attractive environment in which to invest".

In New York commodity prices recovered some of last week's losses, helping to lift stocks on Wall Street. Last week silver tumbled 27% and oil sank 15% because of fears of weaker global demand and higher margin requirements that were meant to lower the influence of speculators.

The S&P 500 added 0.5% to close at 1,346.29. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.4% to 12,684.68. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.6% to 2,843.25.



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