New Zealand stock market opened marginally higher on Thursday on a positive overnight lead from the Wall Street, where U.S. stocks closed higher on a couple of better-than-expected economic reports.
The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 3.89 points or 0.15% to 2,634.21 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index added 2.45 points or 0.09% to 2,662.30.
The New Zealand market moved slightly lower in a lack luster trading session on Wednesday. The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 5.0 points or 0.19 percent to close at 2,630.33. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 52.9 million shares worth NZ$102.7 million.
Overseas, U.S. stocks experienced considerable volatility over the course of the trading session on Wednesday, with the major averages eventually ending the session firmly in positive territory. The choppy trading came as traders digested some strong economic data combined with weak demand for a U.S. treasury auction.
Some initial buying interest was generated by a couple of better than expected reports on durable goods orders and new home sales in the month of February. But the stocks were unable to sustain the upward move, as investors remained skeptical that the better than expected data signals a turnaround for the economy.
After hovering in positive territory for much of the morning, stocks showed a substantial turnaround over the course of the afternoon amid a negative reaction to the release of the results of the Treasury Department's auction of $34 billion worth of five-year notes. The auction drew a yield of 1.849 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.02.
Nonetheless, stocks moved back to the upside going into the close, lifting the major averages back into positive territory. The Dow closed up 89.84 points or 1.2 percent at 7,749.81, the Nasdaq closed up 12.43 points or 0.8 percent at 1,528.95 and the S&P 500 closed up 7.63 points or 1 percent at 813.88.
Oil prices slipped below $53 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday as traders mulled Energy Information Administration data that showed another build in weekly inventories. The drop took prices away from the four-month closing high from the day before.
Crude oil for May delivery dropped to $52.77 a barrel, down $1.21. Oil slipped as low as $51.86 after touching as high as $54.18 earlier in the day.
On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US56.21c by 8 am on Thursday, after dropping to as low as US55.55c during the night.
In Thursday's economic calendar, Statistics New Zealand releases its data on New Zealand's current account deficit and current account balance in the December quarter at 21:45 AM GMT.
In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Thursday, market leader Telecom remained unchanged, as second ranked Contact Energy eased 0.17% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, lost 0.66%.
In the retail sector Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International and Pumpkin Patch remained unchanged, as Warehouse gave up 1.36%.
In the energy sector Vector and TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Thursday.
Among the dual listed issues, AMP and Telstra remained unchanged, as Australia and NZ Banking Corp fell 1.00%, APN News & Media added 1.83%, Lion Nathan declined 1.52% and Westpac Bank dropped 1.36%.
Among other notable stocks, Infratil was down 0.67%, as Mainfreight, Methven and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged. Nuplex surged 13.64%, Sky City collected 0.36% and Sky Network Television jumped 2.04%.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare remained unchanged, as Fisher & Paykel Appliances surged 20.93%.
Other gainers in the day's early trading included- Cavalier by 3.75%, Goodman Fielder by 4.55%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.20%, ING Medical Properties Trust by 0.89%, NZX Limited by 1.35%, PGG Wrightson by 3.31%, Port of Tauranga by 1.98% and Tower by 0.76%.
Major losers on Thursday morning were- Air New Zealand by 2.20%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.01%, New Zealand Oil & Gas Limited by 0.72% and Skellerup Holdings Limited by 4.48%.
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