11 Aug 2011

NZ market bucks downard trend

8:01 pm on 11 August 2011

The New Zealand sharemarket bucked the trend of falling equity markets to finish higher on Thursday.

The benchmark NZX50 index was up 25 points, or 0.8%, to 3,208 on turnover of $101 million, ignoring fears about the financial soundness of France's economy that shook equity markets in Europe, America and Asia.

Analysts say investors have been encouraged by some solid earnings results from companies such as Mainfreight, and Steel and Tube Holdings.

By the close of trade, shares in Mainfreight were up 15 cents to $9.77 after reporting a profit of $14.2 million in the three months to June, compared with $6.8 million a year earlier.

Steel and Tube was up 5 cents to $2.40 after reporting a full-year profit of $17 million, compared with $5.7 a year earlier.

Top stocks also performed strongly: Fletcher Building gained 21 cents to $7.51, while Telecom was up 9 cents to $2.49.

The New Zealand dollar also rebounded to about US82 cents on Thursday.

Mixed day in Asia

Asian markets saw a sell-off early in trading, triggered by rumours that France may become the next country to lose its AAA credit rating.

The Australian sharemarket defied heavy falls on overseas markets to spend the day switching between losses and gains.

The market finished the day flat after being down as much as 2% early on, the ABC reports.

The ASX 200 closed at 4,141 - the same value at which it finished yesterday's session. The All Ordinaries moved 4 points lower to 4,204.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index pulled back from an opening fall of 1.8% to close 0.63% lower.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.6%, but South Korea's Kospi was up 0.62%, reversing an earlier decline.

Meanwhile, the gold price has reached a record high of $US1800 an ounce. Investors often put their money into gold at times of volatility on the stock markets in the hope that it will hold its value -even through a recession.

Concerns about France

Concerns about European debt issues have rocked the markets for some time now, though the fears have mainly been limited to smaller, so-called peripheral economies, such as Greece and Portugal, the BBC reports.

Earlier, Wall Street and European share markets tumbled over fears that Europe's debt crisis could engulf French banks and eventually spill into the US financial sector.

The French government and the three main ratings agencies denied the country would follow the United States and lose its top-grade AAA credit rating, but this failed to boost international markets.