RTTNews - The New Zealand share market opened lower on Thursday, following a downbeat lead from the Wall Street where the major U.S. averages closed moderately lower overnight on a late session sell-off.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was down 12.67 points or 0.45% to 2,788.41 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index slipped 10.18 points or 0.36% to 2,844.30.

New Zealand's stock market had closed slightly higher on Wednesday. The benchmark NZX-50 index was up 10.3 points or 0.37 percent at 2,801.1. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 53.7 million shares valued at NZ$83.5 million. Advancing shares outnumbered decliners 46 to 34 with 46 closing unchanged.

Overseas, U.S. stocks finished Wednesday's trading session modestly lower, unable to sustain earlier gains. The major averages all slipped into negative territory in mid-afternoon dealing, closing just off of their worst levels of the day.

Trading this week has been largely subdued as many traders sat on the sidelines following considerable profit taking last week, prompted by the run up in equities in recent months.

Traders digested the latest minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee released earlier this afternoon, which revealed some debate within the policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve over whether or not to purchase additional treasury securities.

Earlier, traders digested comments from treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who issued cautious optimism regarding the recovery of the embattled financial sector, while Bank of America (BAC) was able to raise a substantial amount of capital, further bolstering prospects for the industry.

In other news, the House of Representatives passed a landmark credit card industry reform bill Wednesday afternoon, sending legislation designed to crack down on the credit card industry to President Barack Obama. The 361-64 vote sent the bill to Obama's desk and he is expected to sign it as early as Friday.

The major U.S. averages all closed slightly lower after a late day sell-off dragged the indices into negative territory. The Dow closed lower by 52.81 at 8422.04, the Nasdaq finished down by 6.70 at 1727.84, and the S&P 500 slipped by 4.66 to 903.47.

Oil prices rallied to a six-month high above $62 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, boosted by a second straight decline in weekly inventories. A weaker dollar also improved the hedge appeal of commodities.

July crude oil settled at $62.04 a barrel, up $1.94 on its first session as the front-month contract. This marked the best finish since Nov. 10. Prices reached as high as $62.26.

The Energy Information Administration reported U.S. commercial crude oil inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels in the week ended May 15. Experts had forecast a decline of about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US60.52c by 8am on Thursday when compared to US60.04c at 5pm on Wednesday. The kiwi had peaked at US61.13c around 2am.

In the economic news for Thursday, Statistics New Zealand releases its data on the visitor arrivals in New Zealand in the month of April at 22:45 PM GMT.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Thursday, market leader Telecom eased 0.38%, as second ranked Contact Energy remained unchanged, and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, gave up 1.51%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International and Pumpkin Patch remained unchanged, as Warehouse slipped 0.97%.

In the energy sector, Vector remained unchanged, as TrustPower added 0.26% in the early trading on Thursday.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP and APN News & Media remained unchanged, as Australia and NZ Banking Corp slipped 0.05%, Lion Nathan lost 0.67%, Telstra advanced 0.25% and Westpac Bank dropped 0.97%.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil fell 1.20%, Mainfreight added 0.63%, Nuplex surged 2.33%, Sky City slipped 0.69%, Sky Network Television advanced 2.14% and Steel & Tube Holdings collected 0.66%, as Methven remained unchanged. Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down 1.56%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gave up 0.32%.

The major gainers in the day's early trading included- Goodman Fielder Limited by 1.30%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.18%, New Zealand Oil & Gas Limited by 1.35%, PGG Wrightson Limited by 1.48%, Pike River Coal by 0.95% and Ryman Healthcare by 0.62%.

The losers on Thursday morning included- Auckland International Airport by 4.19%, Cavalier Corporation by 1.69%, Freightways by 0.32%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.23%, Kiwi Income Property Trust 1.06%, NZ Farming Systems by 1.45%, NZX Limited by 0.49%, Property For Industry by 0.88% and Port of Tauranga by 0.83%.

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