New Zealand shares inch higher

Last updated 10:59 24/01/2013

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New Zealand shares eased into the black in morning trade, with mixed offshore leads subduing investor risk sentiment.

The NZX 50 Index rose 3.2 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 4190.56 in the first 30 minutes of trade. PGG Wrightson led gainers, and Xero fell. Thirteen stocks rose, 10 fell, and 27 were unchanged.

US and European stocks moved higher overnight, aided by strong earnings reports from the likes of tech giants IBM and Google. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.99 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 13,766.20.

Markets were also heartened by news that the US House of Representatives had voted to suspend the debt ceiling for another four months, buying enough time for a budget plan to be put into effect.

However, a downgrade to global growth forecasts from the IMF put a slight damper on proceedings.

On the local bourse, PGG Wrightson led gainers as it recovered some ground from yesterday's drubbing.

The rural services supply company rose 2.3 per cent to 44c, up 1c from yesterday's close.

NZX, the market operator, rose 1.6 per cent to $1.30. Tower, the general insurer controlled by Guinness Peat Group, rose 1 per cent to $1.94.

The country's biggest phone company, Telecom, rose 0.9 per cent to $2.34 on modest trading volumes.

Sister company Chorus was also up 0.7 per cent to $2.84.

Cloud accounting firm Xero led decliners, down 0.9 per cent to $7.38. Retirement village operator Metlifecare fell 0.6 per cent to $3.18.

TrustPower, the electricity company controlled by Infratil, fell 0.4 per cent to $8.35.

Auckland International Airport, the country's busiest gateway, fell 0.4 per cent to $2.78.

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