Market heavyweights closely watched

NIKO KLOETEN
Last updated 08:08 22/08/2014

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What you need to know on Friday morning, August 22.

- NZX50 up 12.577 points (0.24 per cent) to 5152.915

- NZ dollar at US84 cents, A90.35c, 87.2 yen, 50.68p, 63.25€c

- Brent crude oil at US$102.72 a barrel (up US44c)

- Spot gold at US$1273.80 an ounce

What's on today

- Vector annual result

- Spark annual result

- Sky TV annual result

Stocks to watch

- Vector, Spark, Sky TV: these three sharemarket heavyweights are all reporting their annual results today and investors will be watching them closely.

Spark, the company formerly known as Telecom, remains one of New Zealand's largest companies with a market capitalisation of more than $5 billion.

Vector investors will be hoping the solid run of power company results this week continues, while Sky investors will be looking to see if it can build on a 21.9 per cent increase in net profit in the first half of the financial year.

Top international news

- US stocks rose yesterday after a flurry of economic data showed an improving economy and as investors awaited the start of a central bankers' meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The S&P 500 climbed above its previous intraday record of 1991.39, set on July 24, in morning trading yesterday. Investors are eyeing the benchmark index's approach to 2000, a significant level it has yet to breach.

Market participants also refrained from making big bets yesterday ahead of the start later today of the policymakers' meeting in Jackson Hole, which could provide clues on the timing of an interest-rate hike.

US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak at the conference today.

US economic data, including a jump in existing home sales to a 10-month high and a sharp drop in initial jobless claims, pointed to an economy that is slowly gaining strength.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 91.39 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 17,070.52. The S&P 500 gained 7.3 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 1993.81. The Nasdaq Composite added 6.30 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 4532.78.

The S&P 500 kept extending its record intraday high, touching 1994.14 in late afternoon trading.

Something else for your morning

- A new company that its backers describe as a "Fonterra for forests" is targeting investors in New Zealand's 14,000 small forests.

The United Forestry Group, with Australian and Chinese investment backing, wants to sign up owners of forests of less than 1000 hectares to assist it in harvesting, processing and marketing.

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These small forests make up 500,000ha of a total of 1.7 million hectares of plantation forests.

These are "potentially worth $30 billion in today's dollars over the next two decades", UFG says.

- Stuff

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