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MARKET CLOSE: Sharemarket closes flat on holiday reduced day

Monday 24th January 2011

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The New Zealand sharemarket closed flat after rising slightly in early trading after receiving a positive lead from Wall Street on Friday.

The benchmark NZX-50 closed down 0.064 points at 3352.658 after opening up around 2.747 points. Trading was reduced today by the Wellington Anniversary holiday.

The Australian market was firm today even though it was knocked by a profit downgrade by retailer Woolworths. Wall Street was boosted by a strong performance by General Electric, which rose 7.1% to its highest intraday level since November 2008, after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings.

Air NZ (NZX: AIR ) was unchanged at $1.42 as the investors continued to absorb its move to buy 14.99% of Virgin Blue. Commentators are optimistic the investment will do better than its previous foray into Australia via airline Ansett.

Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) was unchanged at $2.10 after the Sydney Morning Herald speculated about the future of the company's poorly performing UK stores, while quoting the company saying it was under no pressure to make a decision.

Steel & Tube (NZX: STU ) rose 3c to $2.30 and Mainfreight (NZX: MFT ) rose 1c to $8.02. Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) rose 4c to $7.81 and SkyCity (NZX: SKC ) rose 3c to $3.27. Hellaby (NZX: HBY ) rose 4c to $2.25 and NZX (NZX: NZX ) rose 3c to $1.71. Goodman Fielder (NZX: GFF ) rose 3c to $1.74.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) was unchanged at $2.31.

Restaurant Brands (NZX: RBD ) fell 7c to $2.51, The Warehouse (NZX: WHS ) fell 1c to $3.62 and TrustPower (NZX: TPW ) fell 4c to $7.20. Contact Energy (NZX: CEN ) fell 4c to $6.26 and SkyTV (NZX: SKT ) fell 6c to $5.21.

In the US, the Dow and S&P 500 rose as General Electric Co's earnings put a positive tone on the economic recovery, snapping a two-day losing skid for the benchmark index.

The Nasdaq was pulled lower by Google, ending a week marked by investors pulling back from outperforming technology shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49.04 points, or 0.41%, to end at 11,871.84. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 3.09 points, or 0.24%, to 1283.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 14.75 points, or 0.55%, to 2689.54.

Google shares were down 2.4% as confidence that chief executive Larry Page would rejuvenate the internet search company wavered.



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