31 Jul 2008

NZ market up despite Warehouse share plunge

10:09 pm on 31 July 2008

A plunge in The Warehouse share price failed to dent the New Zealand sharemarket on Thursday, with the benchmark NZX 50 index up 49 points to close at 3336 on turnover of $126 million.

Shares in The Warehouse fell 16% or 60 cents to $3.22 after the Court of Appeal blocked a bid by supermarket giants, Foodstuffs and Woolworths from making takeover offers for New Zealand's biggest retailer.

In Australia, Warehouse Group shares plunged A55c, or 18.27%, to $A2.46 while Woolworths added A16c to $A25.20 on news of the court's decision.

Telecom was up 13c to $3.81, Contact Energy rose 5c to $8.40, but Fletcher Building was down 2c to $6.38.

Auckland Airport rose 10c to $2.04, while Sky Network TV jumped 22c to $4.72.

PGG Wrightson was up 3c to $2.68 after it took a 51% stake in an animal health business in Uruguay - a move that it says will boost profit in its South American operations by 15%.

Australian market rises

In Australia, the sharemarket closed firmly in the black for the second consecutive day, driven by a positive US lead and higher prices overnight for copper, nickel and oil.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 40.7 points, or 0.82%, to 4,977.4 while the broader All Ordinaries surged 43.9 points, or 0.88%, to 5,052.6.

At 1620 AEST, the September share price index futures contract was up 76 points to 4,971 on a volume of 22,892 contracts.

At 1627 AEST, the spot price of gold was $US912.55 per fine ounce, down $US4.90 from Wednesday's Sydney close of $US917.45.

National turnover was 1.49 billion shares worth $A6.24 billion, with 615 stocks up, 453 down and 326 unchanged.

Topsy-turvy day in Japan

Japanese share prices closed marginally up on Thursday, capping a topsy-turvy day as the market waited for a raft of corporate earnings and key US data, dealers said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei-225 index gained 9.02 points or 0.07% to close at 13,376.81.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares climbed 0.63 points or 0.05% to end at 1,303.62.