Kiwi shares edge towards 5-year high

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 11:06 28/01/2013

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New Zealand shares extended gains from last week's rally, with a gradual ascent to five-year highs dampened by thin holiday trading.

The NZX50 index rose 5.2 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 4,205.03 in the first 30 minutes of trade. Restaurant Brands led gainers, and New Zealand Oil & Gas fell.

The local market was subdued by the public holiday in Auckland for anniversary day, with fewer than 5 million shares changing hands. However, strong offshore leads overnight pushed the benchmark index into the 4,200-point territory, the first time since November 2007.

Global markets were bullish on greater signs of stability in the European financial system. The European Central Bank said banks would repay 137 billion euros worth of crisis loans next week, well above the average estimate of 100 billion euros.

On Wall Street the Dow Jones, Standard & Poors 500 and Nasdaq all closed on a high, marking the fourth straight week of gains for all three indices.

The New Zealand dollar recently traded at US83.56, little changed from US83.60c earlier this morning and US83.60c on Friday evening.

Restaurant Brands led gainers on the local bourse. Stock in the fast food franchise operator rose 1.1 per cent to $2.81.

Westpac, the Australian lender, rose 0.9 per cent to $34.50. Jeweller Michael Hill International rose 0.8 per cent to $1.23. 

Steel & Tube, the building material supplier, rose 0.8 per cent to $2.60.

The country's largest listed retailer, the Warehouse Group, rose 0.6 per cent to $3.20.

New Zealand Oil & Gas led decliners. Stock in the energy exploration and production firm fell 1.2 per cent to 86c.

Auckland International Airport was the only other decliner at the open, down 0.2 per cent to $2.79.

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