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Sharemarket edges higher early

Tuesday 26th April 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket fell in the first few minutes after opening following the Easter break, but then edged into positive territory to its highest level in nearly three years.

Around 10.20am the benchmark NZX-50 index was up 1.88 points to 3485.69, having closed up 19.6 points last Thursday, ending the shortened week before Easter on a positive note.

In early trade today Sky City (NZX: SKC ) fell 3c to $3.43, Abano Healthcare (NZX: ABA ) slipped 2c to $4.52, and Auckland Airport (NZX: AIA ) dropped 2c to $2.22, while Tower (NZX: TWR ) gained 2c to $1.87 and Hallenstein Glasson (NZX: HLG ) lifted 2c to $4.00.

Among leading stocks, Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) was up 3c to $9.24, Telecom (NZX: TEL ) edged up 0.5c to $2.14, and Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) gained 1c to $5.87.

Shares in NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZX: NZS ) were untraded early after Olam International said it was seeking to buy the 22% of NZFSU it did not already own at 70c per share. NZFSU shares closed at 55c on Thursday.

In the US on Monday, stocks fell in the lightest volume session of the year, after a lowered outlook from Kimberly-Clark increased concerns about higher commodity costs squeezing profits in coming quarters.

About 5.4 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, below the daily average of 7.74 billion.

Kimberly-Clark cut the low end of its full-year outlook because the costs of pulp and other goods rose more than twice as much as it had expected.

The threat of rising commodity costs will remain in the spotlight for one of the busiest weeks of earnings, with 180 S&P 500 companies set to report this week, including other major consumer names like Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.2% to end at 12,479.88, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 0.2% to 1335.25, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2% to close at 2825.88.



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