13 Jul 2009

NZ sharemarket lifts slightly

8:56 pm on 13 July 2009

New Zealand's Top 50 share index rose 1.4 points, or 0.05%, on Monday to close at 2736 on turnover of $49 million.

Telecom was down 1 cent to $2.66, Fletcher Building up 1 cent to $6.56 and Contact Energy up 10 cents at $5.73.

AMP NZ Office Trust was unchanged at 71 cents after saying the value of its portfolio fell 5% in the June quarter.

Air New Zealand fell 2 cents to 86 cents, and Sky City Entertainment Group 3 cents to $2.62.

In currency markets, the NZ dollar was at 62.31 US cents, 80.54 Australian cents, 38.76 pence, 58.71 yen, and 0.4486 euro. The Trade Weighted Index stood at 59.25.

Aust stocks close lower

The Australian share market closed moderately weaker on falls in resource and financial stocks.

At the 1615 AEST close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 56.6 points, or 1.49%, at 3737.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 52.6 points, or 1.39%, to 3738 points.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the September share price index contract was down 52 points at 3698 on a volume of 19,924 contracts.

Fortescue Metals jumped nine cents, or 2.65%, to $A3.49 after it said June quarter and full year mining rates exceeded expectations. The company said it was closely watching relations between China and Australia following the detention a week ago of four Rio Tinto Ltd staff on suspicion of espionage.

Rio Tinto shares were down $A1.73, or 3.58%, at $A46.63, while BHP Billiton was down 45 cents, or 1.38%, at $A32.20.

Among the major banks, Commonwealth Bank was down 73 cents at $A36.72, ANZ dropped 28 cents to $A15.75, Westpac lost 24 cents to $A18.91, and National Australia Bank was 44 cents lower at $A21.94.

Australian oil producers were lower, with Woodside down 70 cents at $A39.20, Santos off 28 cents at $A13.02 and Oil Search down seven cents at $A5.12.

Virgin Blue said media reports about a potential capital raising were incorrect. Virgin Blue lost 1.5 cents to 29 cents, while Qantas gained seven cents, or 3.64%, to $A1.855.

At 1635 AEST, the spot price of gold in Sydney was $US909.60 per fine ounce, down $US3.00 on Friday's close of $US912.60.

Telstra shares were down four cents at $A3.37, while rival Optus owner Singapore Telecommunications dropped seven cents to $A2.70.

Retailers were lower. Coles owner Wesfarmers lost 30 cents to $A22.10, Woolworths dropped 17 cents to $A26.27 and department store David Jones eased four cents to $A4.28.

In the media sector, Fairfax lost four cents to $A1.11, News Corp fell 23 cents to $A12.36 and its non-voting scrip reversed 24 cents to $A10.46. Seven lost one cent to $A5.23, while Consolidated Media was steady at $A2.60.

Nikkei hits 8-week closing low

Japan's Nikkei average slid 2.6% to its lowest close in eight weeks, hurt by growing political uncertainty after news that embattled Prime Minister Taro Aso is set to call a general election for 30 August.

In active trade, the Nikkei dropped 236.95 points to 9050.33, its lowest finish since May 18. The index has been sliding for nine days, losing 9.1%. The broader Topix declined 2.3% to 852.42.