Small early rise for sharemarket
The New Zealand sharemarket rose modestly in early trade, with shares in New Zealand Refining Co pushing to an eight-month high as petrol prices hover around $2 a litre.
Around 10.15am the benchmark NZX-50 index was up 3.31 points to 3292.26, after yesterday slipping 2.3 points.
NZ Refining added 9c early to 400, Ebos Group lifted 5c to 738, Xero gained 5c to a new high 232, NZX was up 2c to 147, and Restaurant Brands added 2c to 263.
Methven, which today went ex-dividend, dropped 7c to 160, Mainfreight was down 5c to 765, Sky TV dropped 4c to 512, and Hellaby Holdings slipped 2c to 202.
In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average rose but the Standard&Poor's 500 and Nasdaq Composite cut their gains and ended mostly flat in a late-day sell-off, as yet another cautious statement from the Federal Reserve on the economy offset strong November retail sales.
The Fed, in a policy statement after its last scheduled meeting of the year, said the economic recovery was still too slow to bring down unemployment and reaffirmed its commitment to purchase $US600 billion ($NZ798b) in bonds to stimulate growth and create jobs, as had been expected.
Sales at US retailers rose 0.8 percent in November, up for a fifth straight month and pointing to a firm rebound in consumer spending, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the US economy.
According to preliminary data, the Dow gained 0.4 percent to 11,477.30, the S&P 500 edged up 0.1 percent to 1241.58, and the Nasdaq added 0.1 percent to 2627.72.