15 Oct 2009

US bank results push up Asia-Pacific sharemarkets

9:02 pm on 15 October 2009

Stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region all performed more strongly on Thursday after the Dow Jones index in New York closed above 10,000 points for the first time in a year.

In New Zealand, the NZX benchmark index was up slightly at the close, while markets in Asia were all in positive territory.

One of the main factors behind the market rises was strong profits from the US banking giant, J P Morgan.

Radio New Zealand's economics correspondent reports that the New Zealand dollar hit fresh 15-month highs during the afternoon and currency traders say it could break through 75 US cents overnight if other big American banks reported earnings rises.

The release of figures showing that the cost of living rose by more than expected in the September quarter had currency traders placing bets that the Reserve Bank would hike the Official Cash Rate before the second half of 2010.

Just a point of a percentage point up

The NZX 50 closed up 5 points, or .1%, at 3,191 on tunover of $74 million. Of the three main stocks, Fletcher Building shed 3c to $7.89, Telecom 5c to $2.57 and Contact Energy 1c to $6.05.

Sky City Entertainment Group was up 9c to $3.36, while gains were also recorded by Mainfreight (17c to $5.54), the Warehouse (7c to $4.43) and New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay (2c to 47c).

By late afternoon the dollar was trading at 74.66 US cents, 81.07 Australian, 46.5 pence, 66.86 Yen, and .4994 euro. The TWI stood at 66.79.

Across the Tasman, the Australian dollar hit a new 14-month high of 92 US cents.

The Australian sharemarket closed on a one-year high with the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index up 28.8 points, or 0.6%, at 4,859.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 28.5 points to finish on 4,862.5.