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New Zealand: Shares inch up in thin trade; US-Mexico deal lends support

[BENGALURU] New Zealand shares made slight gains on Monday after the United States called off the imposition of tariffs on Mexico, following a deal to combat illegal migration from Central America, but a holiday in Australia kept trading volumes low.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.2 per cent at 10,066.54 by 0012 GMT. The benchmark had gained in the previous three sessions, but posted a 0.7 per cent loss last week.

Property firm Investore Property and dairy company a2Milk were among the top percentage gainers, putting on more than 1 per cent each.

National carrier Air New Zealand gained 0.8 per cent while NZX Ltd tacked on about 1 per cent.

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Meanwhile, Vital Healthcare shed about 1.7 per cent to be the top percentage loser, after gaining 2.6 per cent in the previous session.

The deal struck between the United States and Mexico provided a big relief for global financial markets, already roiled by a protracted trade war between the US and China.

"It is always a good thing when tariffs are taken out of the picture. There are a number of New Zealand companies that have manufacturing facilities in Mexico," said Jeremy Sullivan, investment advisor at Christchurch-based advisor firm Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Investors were also encouraged by weak US job growth data released on Friday that increased hopes of that the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates.

But the impact of the holiday in Australia was evident in the low trading volumes for the benchmark index, with just over 2 million shares trading in the first two hours against the 30-day average volume of more than 28 million.