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Sharemarket edges lower early, halt on Fletcher Building

Thursday 27th January 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket edged lower in early trading after Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard left the official cash rate at 3%, as widely expected.

The New Zealand dollar received a modest boost from Bollard's comments, rising from around US76.45c at 9am, when the rate announcement was made, to be around US77.10c at 10am.

Shares in one of the sharemarket's key stocks, Fletcher Building, were put on a trading halt about 15 minutes before the market opened, pending a material announcement by the company.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZX-50 index was down about 2.83 points to 3351.89, having dropped 4.3 points yesterday.

Shares in retailer Hallenstein Glasson (NZX: HLG ) rose 4c to $3.90 following a 24c drop yesterday, after the company said it expected half-year net profit to be between 13 and 18% lower than a year earlier.

NZ Refining Co (NZX: NZR ) shares gained 6c to $4.60, Cavalier Corp (NZX: CAV ) was up 4c to $3.24, Restaurant Brands (NZX: RBD ) gained 2c to $2.45, Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) added 2c to $6.24, and Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) was up 6c to $8.20.

Among stocks falling early, Sky TV (NZX: SKT ) lost 5c to $5.25, Infratil (NZX: IFT ) was down 2c to $1.87, Trustpower (NZX: TPW ) lost 2c to $7.20, while Telecom (NZX: TEL ) was unchanged on $2.31.

In the US, the blue chip Dow Jones industrial average slipped to finish with a modest gain after rising above 12,000 - where it spent most of the day - for the first time in 2-1/2 years.

Weak profit forecasts from Boeing kept the Dow from posting bigger gains.

At the market close, preliminary figures showed the Dow up 0.1% to 11,985, the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.4% to 1297, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.7% to 2740.



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