NZX rises amidst Cypriot crisis

Last updated 05:00 20/03/2013

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The New Zealand sharemarket rose today, beating Australia's recovery, as markets regained some confidence with the stalling of Cyprus' bank deposit grab.

The benchmark NZX50 index rose 4.39 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 4349.43.

Twenty companies gained, 12 declined and 18 remained unchanged.

Xero led the gainers, while the Warehouse fell.

Lawmakers in Cyprus have rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout, throwing efforts to rescue the tiny nation from a debt crisis into disarray.

The move leaves the island with no clear plan to avoid financial meltdown, but investors had been spooked by the possibility of bank deposits being raided.

Australian shares fell 0.9 per cent in late-morning trade, with mining stocks dragging the index.

"Australia tried to rally but didn't quite deliver," Mint Asset Management portfolio manager Shane Solly said.

He said New Zealand's mild rise was "not a bad effort" considering ongoing euro zone uncertainty.

"We've seen another reasonable day, with most Asia-Pacific markets recovering from yesterday's uncertainty over Cyprus."

Some New Zealand-listed stocks that were also heavily traded in Australia, such as AMP and Westpac, suffered from weakness in the Australian markets, Solly said.

Cloud accounting firm Xero was the day's biggest gainer on the local bourse, rising 7.98 per cent to $11.50.

Air New Zealand rose 2.75 per cent to $1.50 after the release of positive operating figures.

Mainfreight, the international trucking and logistics company, rose 1.82 per cent to $11.75.

Leading the decliners was Warehouse Group, the country's biggest listed retailer, which fell 4.99 per cent to $3.62.

AMP, the Australian wealth manager, fell 2.33 per cent to $6.30.

Goldminer Ocean Gold Corp fell 1.84 per cent to $3.20.

The New Zealand dollar fell against the greenback and other major currencies.

The kiwi recently traded at US82.27 cents, down from US82.36c at 8am, while on the Trade Weighted Index of major trading partners' currencies it fell slightly to 75.80.

On the crosses, the kiwi recently traded at 79.28 Australian cents, down from A79.42c at 8am, and 78.21 yen, down from 78.31 yen. It closed at 63.90 euro cents, down from 63.96 euro cents, and 54.52 British pence, down marginally from 54.53p earlier.

The 90-day bank bill rate was 2.65 per cent.


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- Fairfax Media

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