RTTNews - Mixed opens are expected Thursday for the Australia and New Zealand sharemarkets. The opens come on the heels of mixed results overnight on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve's decision to hold U.S. interest rates steady

New Zealand's market drifted lower in a lightly traded session on Wednesday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index was down 22.2 points or 0.8 percent at 2,739.8.

Market turnover was reported by the New Zealand Stock Exchange at 35.1 million shares valued at NZ$80.2 million.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 48 to 25 with 33 unchanged.

Among the day's most actively traded issues, Auckland International Airport was down NZ$0.03, Fletcher Building was down .06, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was up .03, Goodman Property Trust was unchanged, Guinness Peat was down .03, Infratil was unchanged, Kiwi Income Property Trust was up two cents, SkyCity Entertainment was down .08 and Telecom Corp of New Zealand was down .04.

Across the Tasman, Australia's market rose modestly. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index advanced 10.1 points or 0.3 percent at 3,807.0 while the broader All Ordinaries index added 9.2 points or 0.24 percent to 3,802.2.

Market turnover was 2.0 billion shares valued at A$5.1 billion.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 543 to 484 with 374 unchanged.

The major banks were slightly lower, with Australia and NZ Banking Group down A$0.03, Commonwealth Bank of Australia down .19, National Australia down .24 and Westpac down a penny.

In the resources sector, mining giant BHP Billiton declined .07 while rival Rio Tinto advanced .99.

For the gold stocks, Lihir Gold was up a penny, Newmont Mining was up .07 and Newcrest Mining fell .52.

In the retail sector, Woolworths was unchanged, Wesfarmers was up .67, David Jones was up .03 and Harvey Norman was unchanged.

In overseas trading, U.S. stocks were mixed on Wednesday, paring early gains after the Federal Reserve announced it would keep interest rates unchanged, and dropping its warning on inflation.

About 20 minutes before the closing bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 44.89 points or 0.54 percent at 8.278.02, the Nasdaq Composite index was up 23.88 points or 1.35 percent at 1,788.33 and the Standard and Poor's 500 Index was ahead by 2.67 points or 0.30 percent at 897.77.

Except for New Zealand's, the other major markets in the Asia/Pacific region finished higher on Wednesday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average rose 40.71 points or 0.43 percent to 9,590.32.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 353.78 points or 2.02 percent at 17,892.15.

In China, the Shanghai Composite index was up 29.60 points or 1.02 percent at 2.922.30.

India's BSE 30 Index rose 98.72 points or 0.69 percent to 14,422.73.

In Indonesia, the Jakarta Composite index was up 81.29 points or 4.25 percent at 1,995.67.

The KOSPI/Seoul Composite index in South Korea was up 3.25 points or 0.24 percent at 1,363.79.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was up 182.61 points or 2.95 percent at 6,380.08.

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