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NZ sharemarket lower early

Friday 25th February 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket was down in early trading as assessment continues of the impact of Tuesday's disastrous earthquake in Christchurch and world markets nervously watch turmoil in Libya.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZX-50 index was down 5.86 points to 3362.49, having yesterday dropped 3.7 points.

Key stock Telecom (NZX: TEL ) slipped 1c early to a 10-week low $2.10, while Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) was down 3c to $8.55 after announcing the Commerce Commission had cleared its offer for Crane Group.

Fishing company Sanford (NZX: SAN ) fell 9c early to $4.97, Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) lost 3c to $6.20, Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ) was down 2c to $7.38, Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) dropped 2c to $3.37, and Port of Tauranga (NZX: POT ) lost 2c to $7.83.

Retailer The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) gained 3c to $3.48, Restaurant Brands (NZX: RBD ) added 2c to $2.45, and Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ) was up 2c to $1.34.

In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 closed down but well off the day's lows in a volatile session, suggesting investors aren't ready to give up on the market's rally.

The S&P 500 opened lower on deepening concerns that higher oil could stifle economic activity. Stocks hit their worst levels when Brent crude neared US$120 a barrel on Libya's turmoil, but a drop in oil prices prompted a corresponding recovery in stocks.

Based on preliminary data, the Dow was down 0.3% to end unofficially at 12,068.50, the S&P 500 was down 0.1% to 1306.10, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.6% to 2737.90.



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