Shares rise as dollar eases

The New Zealand share market rose today, helped by a rallying stock market over the Tasman and an easing kiwi dollar, at least compared to last week's soaring highs.

The NZX 50 Index rose 17.74 points, or 0.42 per cent, to close at 4,214. Within the index 22 stocks rose and 14 fell.

Banks ANZ - the country's biggest lender - and Westpac - the Australian lender - led gainers after a strong result from Australian-listed bank CBA continuing to boost sentiment and help financial stocks.

ANZ rose 3.13 per cent to $34.55, while Westpac rose 2.54 per cent to $36.40 on the local bourse.

Australian shares edged higher in late morning trade after a string of earnings reports lent support to the view that the Aussie economy was in better-than-expected shape.

Although the kiwi dollar rose marginally against the greenback, it remained down on last week, when it broke US85.30c.

Craigs Investment Partners head dealer Bryon Burke said easing in the dollar had helped boost the New Zealand share market by making local shares look relatively cheaper.

Burke said market put in a good performance today, with rises in heavyweights Telecom and Fletcher accounting for a large chunk of the improvement, along with a rise in online auction company Trade Me.

Telecom rose 1.58 per cent to close the day at $2.26 and Fletcher Building rose 1.47 per cent to $9.

New Zealand shares rose despite disappointing results from securities market operator NZX and commercial and industrial real estate investor Property For Industry.

Leading the decliners was OceanaGold Corp, which fell 3.85 per cent to close at $3.

NZX, dogged by a soft result that was partly due to one-off costs and a lack of IPOs, fell 2.31 per cent to $1.27.

NZX reported a 32 per cent drop in full year profit as higher staff costs and expenses, coupled with a dearth of new listings, dragged on otherwise modest growth. The securities market operator's net profit for the 12 months to the end of December fell to $9.9 million from $14.5m in the previous year.

Shares in courier company Freightways lost 1.11 per cent, closing at $4.45, despite half-year profit hitting a record high of $21 million on growth in its package delivery business.

Property for Industry shares fell slightly, down 0.40 per cent to close at $1.24, after property sales and vacancies bit the annual earnings at the listed industrial property investor, in line with expectations.

The kiwi dollar recently traded at US84.41 cents, slightly up from US84.38c this morning.

It fell on the Trade Weighted Index of major trading partners' currencies, ending the day at at 76.90 from 77.20. this morning.

On the crosses, the kiwi recently traded at 82.03 Australian cents, up from A81.91c this morning, 63.31 euro cents, up from 63.20 euro cents, 54.52 pence up from 54.42 pence and 79.43 yen up from 78.88 yen this morning.

The 90 day bank bill rate was 2.70 per cent.