All eyes on house prices

NIKO KLOETEN
Last updated 08:11 07/08/2014

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Super ministry spends $43,000 on 'over the top' sign Environment Canterbury's draft Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan scrutinised Rail and Maritime Transport Union takes KiwiRail to court Z Energy shares rocket up 21 per cent on $785m Caltex takeover deal Kiwi falls against US dollar ahead of Reserve Bank interest rate review Spark share buy-back announced More than 50 jobs to go at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Spark 4G rural broadband service on way This is the cheapest broadband will get in New Zealand NZ terms of trade improve on lower petrol prices

What you need to know on Thursday morning, August 7.

- NZX50 down 11.936 points (0.23 per cent) to 5092.227

- NZ dollar at US84.79 cents, A90.61c, 86.52yen, 50.29p, 63.34€c

- Brent crude oil at US$104.67 a barrel

- Spot gold at US$1303.90 an ounce

What's on today

- QV house price index released

- Abano Healthcare goes ex-dividend (final), at 13.7c per share, payable on August 21

Stocks to watch

- Telecom: Telecom has begun removing its signage ahead of its name change to Spark on Friday. The company has previously estimated the rebrand will cost $20 million, but of interest to investors will be what impact, if any, the name change has on the company's reputation. The choice of "Spark" has been widely debated but it will be the company's performance, rather than its name, that will determine its fate.

Top international news

- The US trade deficit narrowed more than expected in June as petrol imports dropped to a 3.5-year low, suggesting trade was less of a drag on second-quarter economic growth than initially thought.

The Commerce Department said yesterday the trade gap shrank 7 per cent to US$41.5 billion (NZ$48.9b), the lowest reading since January.

That was smaller than the roughly US$44.8b shortfall the government had assumed in its first snapshot of second-quarter gross domestic product published last week.

When adjusted for inflation, the deficit narrowed from US$52b in May to US$48.8b.

As a result, economists expect the GDP growth estimate for the April-June quarter to be raised by as much as 0.3 per cent later this month.

Something else for your morning

- The world's newest airliner, the Airbus A350, has called into Auckland as part of a global test flight programme. The wide-body jet is the European planemaker's response to America's Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

To the casual observer there is little to set the two aircraft apart at the airport gate, but that is what you would expect when design by aerodynamic efficiency dictates an optimal shape. The A350's curved-up wingtips is the distinguishing feature.

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