The New Zealand share market opened marginally higher on Wednesday after receiving a mixed lead from the Wall Street where the major U.S. averages closed overnight on both sides on the unchanged line.
The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 4.15 points or 0.15% to 2,816.85 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index eased 4.11 points or 0.14% to 2,870.32.
New Zealand stocks closed lower for a second straight session on Tuesday in a day of light trading. The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 16.53 points or 0.6 percent to close at 2,812.7. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 44.2 million shares valued at NZ$92.5 million.
Overseas, U.S. stocks showed some volatility over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, with the major averages having difficulty sustaining any significant moves before ending the session mixed. The choppy trading came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the outlook for the markets.
The pullback by the markets was partly due to concerns about the outlook for General Motors (GM), which moved sharply lower on the day to reach its lowest levels since the depression.
The loss by GM came as traders worried that the company is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy after several company executives revealed that they sold their GM stock and liquidated their remaining direct holdings in the company.
In economic news, the Commerce Department released a report earlier in the day showing that the U.S. trade deficit for March came in wider than in the previous month, with the value of exports falling by more than the value of imports.
While the report showed that the trade deficit widened to $27.6 billion in March from a revised $26.1 billion in February, economists had expected the deficit to widen to $29.0 billion.
The major U.S. averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the Dow posting a moderate gain. While the Dow closed up 50.34 points or 0.6 percent at 8,469.11, the Nasdaq fell 15.32 points or 0.9 percent to 1,715.92 and the S&P 500 closed down 0.89 points or 0.1 percent at 908.35.
Crude oil finished a volatile session slightly higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday after earlier reaching above the key $60 per barrel mark. Higher imports from China and a weaker dollar outweighed the expectations of another build in weekly U.S. inventories.
Light sweet crude oil for June delivery finished at $58.85, up 35 cents on the session. Earlier, oil rallied as high as $60.08, a new six-month intraday high.
Oil prices surged earlier as data released in China showed the world's second-biggest energy user increased its crude imports by 14% to 16.17 million metric tons in the month of April.
On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US60.58c by 7am on Wednesday, compared to US59.97c at 5pm on Tuesday.
In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Wednesday, market leader Telecom advanced 0.78%, as second ranked Contact Energy remained unchanged and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, gained 0.74%.
In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International and Warehouse remained unchanged, as Pumpkin Patch dropped 0.75%.
In the energy sector, Vector and TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Wednesday morning.
Among the dual listed issues, AMP collected 1.98% as Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged.
Among other notable stocks, Infratil, Mainfreight, Methven, Sky Network Television and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged, as Nuplex dropped 2.56% and Sky City lost 0.69%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances surged 1.56%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added 0.62%.
The other major gainers on Wednesday morning included- AMP NZ Office Trust by 1.28%, ING Medical Properties Trust by 0.85%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 2.68%, NZX Limited by 1.25%, Pike River Coal by 3.70%, Rakon by 0.64%, Ryman Healthcare by 1.25% and Tower by 1.23%.
Apart from Nuplex, Pumpkin Patch and Sky City, losers in the day's early trading were few and included- Freightways by 0.99%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.30% and Tourism Holdings Limited by 1.92%.
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