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NZ stocks: NZ market follows US lead

The New Zealand sharemarket rose today after receiving a positive lead from the United States market on Friday, while weaker than expected inflation data caused the New Zealand dollar to fall.

The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 12.486 points, or 0.362 per cent, at 3465.171. Turnover was worth $72.9 million. There were 33 rises and 43 falls among the 112 stocks traded.

Asian markets were mixed as investors continued to wait on US companies to report first quarter results.

An insight in how the New Zealand economy was travelling was released in Australia when Woolworths said its New Zealand sales rose 3 per cent in the 13 weeks to April 3.

The owner of Countdown supermarkets said the New Zealand economy remained challenging and the Christchurch earthquake had had an adverse impact on its business.

The NZ dollar fell today when the Consumer Price Index for the March quarter was lower than expected, but analysts continue to assess the chances of an eventual test of its post-float high of US82.13c.

Telecom rose 8.5c to 206.5 on a day it outlined a plan to trim its senior executive team and said its binding bid to be a partner for the bulk of the Government's ultrafast broadband initiative has been made.

OceanaGold Corp rose 7c to 384, Scott Technology rose 5c to 140, and Sanford rose 9c to 560.

Rakon rose 1c to 120. Air NZ rose 1c to 112 and Auckland Airport rose 3.5c to 222.

Contact Energy rose 2c to 582.

Fletcher Building eased 4c to 914. NZ Refining Co was down 10c to 460, Sky TV fell 3c to 575, and Xero fell 5c to 248.

In the US, encouraging economic indicators sent stocks higher on Friday (local time), but the market's recent struggles are expected to continue into this week when more than a fifth of Standard & Poor's 500 Index companies report results.

Investors favoured defensive stocks on Friday, which tend to do better in times of waning growth.

Disappointing results from Google and Infosys weighed on technology shares, while financials were pressured by Bank of America's results.

US consumer price inflation remained contained in March while industrial production increased. A separate survey showed improvement in consumer sentiment in April.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.5 per cent to 12,341.83, the S&P 500 Index rose 0.4 per cent to 1319.68, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.2 per cent to 2764.65.

For the week, the Dow fell 0.3 per cent while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each lost 0.6 per cent.

- NZPA

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