Key Points:

Shares in retailer The Warehouse rose 9c in early trade, despite reporting a 21 per cent fall in annual net profit as the economic slowdown and pressure on household budgets hit profitability.

The share price was up 2.8 per cent to 330 early, after the company posted a $90.8 million net profit result on group sales down 1.5 per cent to $1.74 billion.

The overall market was mildly higher following a night in which the New Zealand dollar sunk to two-year lows against the greenback and yen, and the price of oil dropped more than US$2 to within a whisker of US$100.

Top stock Telecom clawed back 1c early to 302, having yesterday fallen below 300 for the first time in 15-1/2 years.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZSX-50 index was up 10.23 points to 3343.77, having closed down 10.3 points yesterday.

Fletcher Building started the day well, rising 20c to 755, more than making up for yesterday's 15c loss.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances added 5c early to 182, F&P Healthcare was up 3c to 317, Pike River Coal gained 2c to 178, and Trustpower was up 3c to 825.

Among stocks to fall early were NZ Farming Systems Uruguay, down 3c to 146, Infratil down 2c to 216, and Ryman Healthcare down 2c to 180.


US stocks rose as a report that major US investment bank Lehman Brothers is shopping itself to possible suitors, including Bank of America, drove a last-minute rebound in financial shares.

The retreat in the price of oil also boosted the market, easing concern about consumer and business spending and sending airline and retail shares higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 1.46 per cent at 11,433.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed up 1.38 per cent at 1249.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index finished up 1.32 per cent at 2258.22.