15 Aug 2008

NZ market up, Australian down

9:05 pm on 15 August 2008

The New Zealand stockmarket had a positive day on Friday after rises on Wall Street.

The benchmark NZX 50 index is up 17 points to close at 3351 on turnover of $123 million.

Telecom was down 4 cents to $3.24, Contact Energy was up 7c to $8.57 and Fletcher Building was up 25c at $6.99

Michael Hill International rose 2c to $0.89 after its annual profits rose 20%.

Steel and Tube was up 10c to $3.25 after reporting a fall in full year profit on Thursday.

New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay was down 2c to $1.78 while New Zealand Finance was unchanged at 40c after picking a lower profit for the March 2009 year.

New Zealand Oil and Gas was up 2c to $1.49.

In currency markets, the kiwi's trading at 69.69 US cents, 80.67 Australian, 37.38 pence, 76.82 Yen, and 0.4719 euro. The Trade Weighted Index stands at 65.04.

Australian stocks up slightly

The Australian 200 index was up 2 points, to 4983.

Listed property trusts enjoyed some of the day's strongest gains, with Stockland up 28c , or 5.98%, to $A4.96, ING Office Fund up 6.5c to $A1.425 and GPT up 6c to $1.72.

Furniture retailer Nick Scali added 3c to 66c after its profit fell less than analysts expected.

Harvey Norman dropped 8c to $3.46, David Jones lost 7c to $3.97, Woolworths was unchanged at $26.70 and Wesfarmers gained 70c to $35.70.

Transport stocks continued to rally on falling oil prices, with Virgin Blue the big winner, rising 16c, or 16.08%, to $1.115. Qantas picked up 6c to $3.50.

The top traded stock by volume was Fairfax Media with 54.7 million shares changing hands together worth $A148.2 million. Its shares fell 10c to $A2.75.

US markets

The US dollar rose to a six-month high against the euro on Friday as gold prices tumbled to a 2008 low and oil slipped, leading investors to increase bets on easing inflation and slower global growth.

European stock markets were expected to open slightly higher, according to financial bookmakers, with lower commodity prices helping concerns about high costs.

Five of the Group of Seven rich nations have experienced economic contraction this year, underscoring the dollar's relative attraction with growth still holding up in the world's largest economy and dragging crude prices back below $114 a barrel.

Euro falls

The euro tumbled below $1.48 to the lowest since February 21, extending losses after data released on Thursday showed the euro zone economy shrank in the second quarter for the first time since records began in 1995.

European shares rose in early trade on Friday, led by financial and pharmaceutical stocks, while the euro at six-month lows against the dollar boosted exporters and falling oil chipped away at inflation worries.

At 0835 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.7% at 1,194.33 points, on track for a loss of less than 0.5% for the week.

Britain's blue-chip index rose early on Friday as lower oil prices helped reduce concerns over spiralling inflation, while dragging commodity stocks lower.

At 0735 GMT the FTSE 100 was up 19.4 points, or 0.4% at 5,516.8 to extend a 0.9% rise in the previous session.


Asian equity markets edged lower as sentiment continued to struggle and investors factored in to what extent potential recessions in Britain, Europe and Japan would hit corporate Asia's bottom line.

Japan's Nikkei share average ended up 0.5% though it has remained in a relatively tight trading range for the last month.

Shares of exporters with brands well-known overseas such as Canon Inc and Toyota Motor Co were among the biggest boosts to the index, especially with the US dollar showing sustained strength.