All eyes on the Government's books

Last updated 07:52 19/08/2014

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What you need to know on Tuesday morning, August 19.

- NZX50 down 6.962 points (0.14 per cent) to 5071.119

- NZ dollar at US84.73 cents, A90.83c, 86.91 yen, 50.63p, 63.39€c

- Brent crude oil at US$101.60 a barrel (down US$1.93)

- Spot gold at US$1299.30 an ounce

What's on today

- The Treasury pre-election fiscal update

- Statistics New Zealand producers price index for June

- Reserve Bank Inflation expectations for September

Stocks to watch

- Hallenstein Glasson: the clothing retailer has forecast a 25 per cent profit downgrade, but analysts say the company has turned things around in the second half. Hallenstein is expecting an after-tax profit for the year of $14 million to $14.2m, 25 per cent lower than last year. In March the retailer reported a 40 per cent fall in interim net profit after underwhelming summer sales.

Top international news

- US stocks surged yesterday, with the Dow up roughly 1 per cent and the Nasdaq at a 14-year high as home-builder confidence increased and hopes for receding tensions between Russia and Ukraine brightened investors' view of the outlook for equities.

All three indexes extended gains from last week. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, up about 0.9 per cent, had climbed above the key 4500 mark, a level it has not seen since April 2000, and the S&P 500 was back to within 1 per cent of an all-time high in early afternoon trading.

Home-builders' stocks rose after the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index showed that home-builder sentiment rose for the third straight month in August.

The PHLX housing sector index climbed 1.4 per cent, lifted by a rally in major home builders, including Pulte Group, up 2.2 per cent at $18.67, and D.R. Horton Inc, up 0.9 per cent at $21.02.

Ambiguity lingered in Russia, where tensions with Ukraine have recently rattled markets. Russian officials said yesterday that while all issues related to the country's humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved, no progress had been made on reaching a ceasefire.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 167.75 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 16,830.66. The S&P 500 gained 15.26 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 1,970.32. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 40.15 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4,505.08.

Something else for your morning

- What is the loneliest job in the world?

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Could it be a field officer at the French-Italian Concordia research station in Antarctica, built on an ice plateau 3200 metres above sea level, and one of the remotest places on Earth? Or perhaps a scientist at the Northeast Science Station in Siberia, Russia?

The prize for lonely jobs could go to the average salesperson for a Kiwi exporter, especially in sectors like hi-tech. We send them off into massive foreign markets, against large and well-funded competitors, selling their wares armed with little more than a few glossy brochures and our good wishes.

- Stuff

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