Stocks mixed at midday mark

Last updated 12:42 28/11/2012

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The New Zealand sharemarket lost momentum in early trade as a number of companies shed their dividends today.

PGG Wrightson led gainers as investors piled into the rural services company, and Hallenstein fell as investors booked profits.

The NZX 50 Index rose 0.1 points, or 0.003 per cent, to 4009 in the first two hours of trade. Just over 11 million shares changed hands, representing $28.5 million in turnover.

Wrightson rose 2.8 per cent to 37c on the back of 1.04 million shares traded.

Appetite for the firm has been higher than usual recently after brokerage Forsyth Barr said its back-to-basics strategy paved the way for medium-term earnings.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the maker of breathing masks and respirators, rose 2.4 per cent to $2.59.

Chemist chain operator Pharmacy Brands rose 3.4 per cent to $1.22 after it reported a 52 per cent jump in half year net earnings. Many of the gains were from cost savings though, with revenues flat due to tough retail conditions.

Steel & Tube, the construction materials supplier, rose 1.8 per cent to $2.30 on expectations the firm's earnings are set to be boosted by the Christchurch rebuild.

Nuplex, the industrial chemicals and resins maker, rose 1.4 per cent to $2.94.

New Zealand Oil & Gas, the energy exploration and production firm, rose 1.2 per cent to 88c after it announced it had bought three permits in the offshore Taranaki basin for $12.5m.

Telecom, the country's biggest phone company and most traded stock, rose 0.4 per cent to $2.34 with 2.1 million shares traded so far.

Hallenstein, the fashion retailer, fell 5.3 per cent to $5.02, leading gainers on the back of 2000 shares traded. Before today's selloff, the stock had been trading at a six-year high.

Trustpower, the electricity company, fell 1.8 per cent to $8.40.

Infratil, the infrastructure investor, fell 1.7 per cent to $2.26 after going ex-dividend. Investors are due a 3.25c per cent share payment on December 14.

DNZ Property Fund, the real estate investor which shed its 2.25c per share dividend today, fell 0.6 per cent to $1.60.

Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator, fell 1 per cent to $4.10 after also going ex-dividend.

Ecoya, the candle and cosmetics maker, fell 1 per cent to 97c. The firm today posted an interim loss of $827,000, an improvement on the $1.04m net loss seen last year.

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