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NZ sharemarket falls early

Thursday 10th February 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket fell early, with Mainfreight down 15c after reporting a 27% rise in nine-month net surplus before abnormals to $34.6 million.

The company said that trading through the third quarter maintained improvements seen during its first half. While early fourth quarter trading had been difficult to measure, Mainfreight said it remained confident the improvements and levels of trading would continue through to year end.

Shares in the company, which reached a high of $8.43 last week, were down 1.8% from yesterday's close to $8.24 in the first few minutes of trading today.

The benchmark NZX-50 index was down 6.41 points to 3380.07 around 10.15am, after yesterday gaining 3.3 points.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) dropped 5c early to $8.10, Hallenstein Glasson (NZX: HLG ) lost 3c to $3.85, Freightways (NZX: FRE ) fell 3c to $3.25, and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) was down 5c to $6.25.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ), which reports half-year earnings tomorrow, slipped 1c to $2.20 after a 3c rise yesterday. Restaurant Brands (NZX: RBD ) lifted 2c to $2.40.

In the US, investors took profits on recent gains in US stocks, but a last-minute rise in Bank of America helped lift the Dow Jones industrial average to its eighth straight day of gains.

Investors remain confident that solid corporate earnings will inspire further advances, but a recent string of lightly traded sessions raises worries that buying interest at current levels has dried up.

Energy and materials stocks weighed on indexes, pressured by weakness in emerging markets, a source of heavy demand for raw goods.

At the market close, the Dow Jones was up 0.1% to 12240, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 0.3% to 1321, and the Nasdaq composite index was down 0.3% to 2789.



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