The New Zealand share market opened slightly lower on Thursday following an up-and-down session on Wall Street where the major U.S. averages closed on both sides of the unchanged line on a mixed bag of earnings reports.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was down 6.97 points or 0.26% to 2,655.96 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index dropped 8.95 points or 0.33% to 2,706.62.

New Zealand's share market closed just slightly lower after a mixed trading session on Wednesday. The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 1.92 points or 0.07 percent to 2,662.94.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 40.7 million shares valued at NZ$85.4 million. There were 29 issues closing higher, 30 closing lower and 33 were unchanged.

Overseas, U.S. stocks experienced considerable volatility over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, with the major averages unable to sustain any significant moves. The choppy trading came as investors continued to digest mixed earnings news.

Early on in the session, traders reacted negatively to quarterly results from Morgan Stanley (MS), which became one of the few major financial companies to report weaker than expected first quarter results, sparking concerns about the banking sector and the wider economy.

The major U.S. averages pulled back sharply going into the close, with the Dow and the S&P 500 falling firmly into negative territory. While the Nasdaq managed to hold onto a modest gain, closing up 2.27 points or 0.1 percent at 1,646.12, the Dow closed down 82.99 points or 1.0 percent at 7,886.57 and the S&P 500 closed down 6.53 points or 0.8 percent at 843.55.

Crude oil prices rose on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, with the U.S. crude rising 30 cents to settle at $48.85 a barrel after dropping to $47.70 earlier in the day. However, London Brent crude closed a cent lower at $49.81 a barrel.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US55.51c by 8am on Thursday, little changed from its level at 5pm on Wednesday. During the night, the kiwi had touched a low of around US55.35c.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Thursday, market leader Telecom and second ranked Contact Energy remained unchanged, as Fletcher Building, the third best stock, slumped 1.59%.

In the retail sector Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International and Warehouse remained unchanged, as Pumpkin Patch fell 1.74%.

In the energy sector, Vector slipped 1.36% and TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Thursday morning.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP, Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan and Telstra remained unchanged, as Westpac Bank gave up 0.64%.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged, as Mainfreight slipped 1.16%, Methven fell 1.77%, Nuplex plunged 11.11%, Sky City added 1.08% and Sky Network Television collected 0.74%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances advanced 2.27%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare declined 0.99%.

The major gainers in the day's early trading included- Guinness Peat Group by 1.39%, Pike River Coal by 1.25%, Ryman Healthcare Limited by 0.71% and Tower by 3.08%.

Major losers on Thursday morning were - Auckland International Airport by 0.59%, AMP NZ Office Trust by 1.20%, Freightways by 1.12%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.23%, ING Medical Properties Trust by 1.75%, ING Property Trust by 1.72%, NZX Limited by 1.31%, Property For Industry by 1.79% and Rakon by 1.48%.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com