RTTNews - The New Zealand and Australia markets were expected to be weaker at Thursday's open. Traders got a negative lead from Wall Street despite a Federal Reserve report that showed hints of an economic recovery.

New Zealand's sharemarket was broadly lower on Wednesday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 28.0 points or 0.9 percent at 2,990.5.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 37.9 million shares valued at NZ$61.9 million.

There were 37 issues closing higher, 40 were lower and 31 were unchanged.

Among the day's most actively traded stocks, Auckland International Airport was down NZ$0.02, Air New Zealand was up .03, AMP NZ Office Trust was up a penny, Fletcher Building was down .20, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down .03, F & P Healthcare was up .02, Goodman Property Trust was unchanged, SkyCity Entertainment was up .02, Telecom Corp of New Zealand was down .07 and Vector was up two cents.

For the dual-listed issues, Australia and NZ Bank was down one cent, APN News & Media was up .06, AMP was down .06, Goodman was up .02, Lion Nathan was unchanged, Telstra was down .04 and Westpac Bank was up three cents.

Across the Tasman, Australia's market finished lower after eleven straight gains.

The benchmark S^P/ASX200 index was down 26.7 points or 0.6 percent at 4,142.8 while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 25.1 points or 0.6 percent at 4,148.9.

Market turnover was 2.1 billion shares valued at A$5.4 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 413 to 504 with 303 unchanged.

In the banking sector, National Australia Bank was down A$0.18, Commonwealth Bank was down .12, Australia and NZ Bank was down a penny and Westpac was up .03. Investment bank Macquarie Group was up .35.

The mining conglomerates were lower, with BHP Billiton down .59 and rival Rio Tinto down $1.40. Fortescue Metals was down .23 and OZ Minerals was down .04.

In the retail sector, Woolworths was up .63, Wesfarmers was down .13, Harvey Norman was up one cent and David Jones was up .09.

Overseas, ongoing concern about the direction of the economy sent U.S. stocks lower. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book report also indicated economic activity remained weak in most areas, but showed signs of stabilization or improvement.

A half hour before the closing bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 60.08 points or 0.66 percent at 9,036.64, the Nasdaq Composite index was lower by 11.01 points or 0.56 percent at 1.964.43 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 7.41 points or 0.76 percent at 972.21.

All of the major markets in the Asia/Pacific region closed lower on Wednesday except Japan's.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Average advanced 25.98 points or 0.26 percent to 10.113.24.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 489.04 points or 2.37 percent at 20,135.50.

China's Shanghai Composite index dropped 171.94 points or 5.00 percent to 3,266.43.

The BSE 30 index in India was down 158.48 points or 1.03 percent to 15,173.46.

In Indonesia, the Jakarta Composite index was down 11.29 points or 0.50 percent at 2.225.01.

South Korea's KOSPI/Seoul Composite index was down 1.71 points or 0.11 percent at 1,524.32.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was down 59.00 points or 0.83 percent at 7,083.63.

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