24 Jul 2008

NZ market higher as central bank cuts interest rate

8:26 pm on 24 July 2008

The New Zealand sharemarket rose 2.7% on Thursday as it reacted to the Reserve Bank cutting the benchmark interest rate.

New Zealand's central bank cut the Official Cash Rate from 8.25% to 8%, the first time it has done so since July 2003.

At the close of trade, the NZX 50 was up 86 points to 3287 on turnover of $111 million.

Telecom was down 3 cents $3.47, while Fletcher Building jumped 36c to $6.91. Contact Energy rose 33c to $8.47.

New Zealand Oil and Gas fell 3c to $1.51.

Auckland International Airport rose 7c to $1.88 and The Warehouse was up 7c to $3.97.

Australia and Japan

In Australia, the market closed in the black, driven by a stronger financial sector, but weaker resource stocks capped the bourse's gains.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 38.8 points, or 0.76%, to 5,144.1, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 26.8 points, or 0.52%, to 5,188.4.

The September share price index futures contract rose 42 points to 5,142.

Mining giant BHP Billiton shed $A1.13 to $A37.55, while its takeover target Rio Tinto dropped $A4.90 to $A115.20.

Spot gold in Sydney was $US926.30 per fine ounce, down $US11.75 from Wednesday's close of $US938.05.

National turnover was 1.37 billion shares worth $A6.83 billion, with 596 stocks up, 476 down and 316 unchanged.

Japanese share prices closed up 2.18% to hit a one-month high, after a further easing of global oil prices and fresh gains on Wall Street.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei-225 index gained 290.38 points to close at 13,603.31, the third straight session it has gained and the highest level since June 26.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares added 29.22 points or 2.24% to close at 1,332.57.