All eyes on house prices

Last updated 08:11 07/08/2014

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Two New Zealand wines win trophies at International Wine and Spirit Competition $56m police payroll project in trouble, says Treasury report Dwelling consents at 11-year high, but not high enough in Auckland, economists warn Family farms our future agri powerhouses: CANNZ paper Victory for Feilding meatworkers, with more work to do Finance diary 2000 broken hopes at failed Wellington call centre Hawke's Bay syrah wins top trophy at Air New Zealand Wine Awards Health drink SOS Hydration seeks to raise $2.3m in crowdfunding campaign AFT Pharmaceuticals NZX and ASX listing to fund growth

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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