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New Zealand shares flat, holidays in Australia and Auckland shrink trade

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[BENGALURU] New Zealand shares were little changed in thin trade on Monday as holidays in the commercial hub Auckland and neighbouring Australia kept most investors away.

In a lacklustre session, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index ended 3.97 points higher at 9,114.52. The benchmark closed flat on Friday.

"It is a local anniversary day in the country's biggest city Auckland and the big players are on holiday. Also, we have got the Australia Day observed today and the Australians are very large players in our market. The volumes are very light," said Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser at Christchurch-based adviser firm Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Consumer non-cyclical stocks led the gains, with dairy firm a2 Milk Company Ltd rising 0.8 per cent, while EBOS Group Ltd climbed 1.2 per cent to its highest since Dec 4, 2018.

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Industrial stocks also advanced, with Auckland International Airport Ltd strengthening 1.1 per cent to its highest since Sept 8, 2016.

However, a fall in the healthcare sector kept the benchmark in check. Medical devices maker Fisher and Paykel Healthcare slipped 2.1 per cent and was the worst performer.

Telecom services provider Spark New Zealand Ltd declined 0.9 per cent.

REUTERS