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NZ sharemarket starts firmly

Friday 25th March 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket started the day firmly, as key stock Fletcher Building pushed up to 900 for the first time in nearly three years.

Around 10.20am the benchmark NZX-50 index was up 7.64 points to 3394.88, on top of a gain of 11.5 points yesterday.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) was up 5c early to $9.00, Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ) lifted 5c to $7.50, Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) added 2c to $1.31, Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) was up 2c to $5.80, and Sky TV (NZX: SKT ) lifted 2c to $5.55.

The dual-listed banks had a good start to the day with ANZ (NZX: ANZ ) up 25c to $31.76 and Westpac (NZX: WBC ) up 20c to $32.00.

Stocks declining early included Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ), down 5c to $3.09, and Port of Tauranga (NZX: POT ) down 2c to $7.89.

In the US, stocks advanced as optimism about upcoming earnings and investor buying of the quarter's top performers lifted the Standard & Poor's 500 Index above a key technical level.

The S&P 500 broke above its 50-day moving average at 1305, leading investors to believe the market may have absorbed the worst of its recent pullback caused by Japan's earthquake and tumult in the Arab world, positioning stocks for another move higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.7% to 12,170.56, the S&P 500 climbed 0.9% to 1309.66, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.4% to 2736.42.

Semiconductor stocks were among the best performers and helped boost the Nasdaq after Micron Technology Inc posted a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street's forecasts.



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