RTTNews - New Zealand's stock market opened flat on Thursday after receiving a mixed overnight lead from the Wall Street, where the major U.S. averages finished on opposite sides of the unchanged line on mixed results from corporate earnings reports.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 2.29 points or 0.08% to 2,902.73 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index added 0.10 points or 0.00% to 2,967.83.

New Zealand's share market gained more ground on Wednesday, boosted by higher earnings reported by casino operator SkyCity Entertainment. The benchmark NZX 50 index closed with a gain of 27.3 points or 0.99 percent at 2,900.4. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 53.7 million shares valued at NZ$115.5 million. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 61 to 20 with 45 unchanged.

Overseas, U.S. stocks finished on a mixed note after seeing choppy trading throughout Wednesday's trading session, with reaction to the latest earnings results limited by low volume. The major averages closed on opposite sides of the unchanged mark, largely unable to extend their recent run-up.

Earlier this morning, traders delved into quarterly results from a number of big-name companies, including Apple, Yahoo!, Pfizer, Boeing, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and PepsiCo. The reports saw mixed reaction, however, as most firms met or beat estimates by cost cutting rather than through revenue growth.

In other news, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke redelivered his address regarding monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee while also fielding questions regarding the current and near-term economic outlook.

In his prepared remarks, Bernanke reiterated that the U.S. economy is showing signs of stabilization, although he noted that the economy is still in a fragile state, with unemployment high and consumer spending shaky.

The major U.S. averages moved sideways in late session dealing to cap off a lackluster trading day. While the Nasdaq eked out a gain of 10.18 points or 0.5 percent, finishing at 1,926.38, the Dow fell by 34.68 points or 0.4 percent to 8,881.26. Further, the S&P 500 slipped by 0.51 points or 0.1 percent to close at 954.07.

Crude oil prices dropped for the first time on the New York Mercantile Exchange in six session amid uncertain trading on the first day with September as the front-month contract. Investors mulled data released by the Energy Information Administration on weekly inventories.

Light sweet crude for September delivery closed at $65.40 per barrel, down 21 cents on the session. Prices rose as high as $65.77 but later fell as low as $65.35.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels in the week ended July 17. Experts were looking for a drop of about 2 million barrels.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US65.95c at 8am on Thursday, when compared to US65.53c at 5pm on Wednesday. During the night, the kiwi had touched a 9 and 1/2 months high of US66.30c.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Thursday, market leader Telecom remained unchanged, as second ranked Contact Energy dropped 0.66% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, gained 1.45%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson and jewelry retailer Michael Hill International remained unchanged, as Pumpkin Patch gave up 1.23% and Warehouse added 0.27%. Among energy stocks, TrustPower and Vector remained unchanged

Among the dual listed issues, AMP, Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged on Thursday morning.

Among other notable stocks, Methven and Sky Network Television remained unchanged, as Infratil eased 0.57%, Mainfreight collected 1.19%, Nuplex declined 0.55%, Sky City slipped 0.32% and Steel & Tube Holdings gained 0.67%. While Fisher & Paykel Appliances fell 1.33%, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare remained unchanged.

The losers on Thursday morning included--ING Medical Properties by 0.86%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 1.24%, New Zealand Refining Company by 0.71%, PGG Wrightson by 2.04% and Port of Tauranga by 0.79%.

The morning's major gainers included-- Auckland International Airport by 0.62%, Cavalier by 2.50%, Guinness Peat Group by 7.69%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.06%, Ryman Healthcare by 0.62% and Tower by 0.57%.

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