The New Zealand stock market opened marginally higher on Wednesday, despite a negative overnight lead from the Wall Street where the major U.S. averages closed lower on profit taking.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 0.70 points or 0.03% to 2,819.75 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index added 0.15 points or 0.15% to 2,873.39.

The New Zealand market closed sharply higher on Tuesday, helped by gains on Wall Street overnight and favorable cues from the other markets in the region. The benchmark NZX-50 Index posted a gain of 52.78 points or 1.9 percent at 2,819.06, the first close above the 2,800 level since November 2008. The index hit an intra-day high of 2,837.7.

Overseas, U.S. stocks saw some weakness during trading on Tuesday, as traders cashed in on the standout gains that were posted in the previous session. Nonetheless, the major averages ended the session well off their worst levels of the day.

While profit taking contributed to the lower close, the major averages managed to hold onto the bulk of Monday's gains, which is likely to be seen as a positive sign for the markets. Some upbeat remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may have helped to limit the downside.

Earlier in the day, Fed Chairman Bernanke testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, noting that recent data has suggested that the pace of contraction in the U.S. economy may be slowing.

Looking forward, Bernanke said economic activity is expected to bottom out then turn up later this year. Nonetheless, he noted that the rate of growth of real economic activity is likely to remain below its longer-run potential for a while.

The major U.S. averages staged a notable recovery attempt in late-day trading but still ended the session modestly lower. The Dow closed down 16.09 points or 0.2 percent at 8,410.65, the Nasdaq closed down 9.44 points or 0.5 percent at 1,754.12 and the S&P 500 closed down 3.44 points or 0.4 percent at 903.80.

Crude oil prices dropped off of a five-month high on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday as investors awaited the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory data. Experts are predicting a 10th straight weekly build in stockpiles.

Light sweet crude oil for June delivery dropped to $53.84, down 63 cents on the session. Prices touched as low as $53.50 earlier in the session after earlier hitting as high as $54.83.

EIA data is to be made public at 10:30 a.m. ET tomorrow. Economists expect to see a build of 2.2 million barrels in the week ended May 1.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US58.02c by 8am on Wednesday, compared to US57.67c at 5pm on Tuesday. During the night, the kiwi had touched US58.60c briefly around 1.40am.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Wednesday, market leader Telecom remained unchanged, as second ranked Contact Energy dipped 0.82% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, eased 0.43%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International and Pumpkin Patch remained unchanged, as Warehouse surged 1.33%.

In the energy sector, Vector gave up 0.46%, as TrustPower lost 0.14% in the early trading on Wednesday morning.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged, as Australia and NZ Banking Corp fell 1.41%.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil, Methven, Mainfreight, Nuplex, Sky Network Television and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged, as Sky City declined 0.36%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances surged 3.57%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare eased 0.32%.

The other losers among the shares listed under New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index on Wednesday morning were few and included-Goodman Fielder by 0.66%, Ryman Healthcare by 1.32% and Skellerup Holdings by 1.67%.

The major gainers in the day's early trading were- Air New Zealand by 0.98%, AMP NZ Office Trust by 1.22%, Freightways by 2.65%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.30%, ING Property Trust by 1.72%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.08%, PGG Wrightson by 2.14%, Pike River Coal by 2.44% and Rakon by 2.67%.

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