RTTNews - The New Zealand stock market opened weaker on Friday, following overnight losses at the Wall Street where U.S. stocks closed mostly lower on poor economic data and profit taking.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was down 15.65 points or 0.56% to 2,760.65 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index slipped 13.79 points or 0.49% to 2,820.91.

The major markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended in negative territory on Thursday, mirroring Wall Street's losses after the minutes of the FOMC meeting revealed doubts over signs of recovery in the world's largest economy.

In New Zealand, the benchmark NZX-50 index was down 24.77 points or 0.88 percent at 2,776.3. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 68.7 million shares worth NZ$90.7 million. There were 37 stocks closing higher, 46 lower and 39 were unchanged.

Overseas, U.S. stocks finished Thursday's session significantly lower after suffering mild losses in the previous session. The major averages all closed in firmly negative territory as trader optimism dampened following the release of largely disappointing economic data.

The retreat came on the heels of another uninspiring jobs report from the U.S Labor Department for the week ended May 16th. The data showed that first time jobless claims slowed but continuing claims rose for yet another week, reaching a new historic high.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business activity index for the first half of May showed improvement but rose by less than expected, further mitigating risk appetite.

Some of the pessimism was moderated by forward looking indicators for April from the Conference Board, which came in slightly better than expected, raising some economic prospects for the coming months.

The broad-based losses on the day came as traders did some profit taking following the recent run-up seen in equities. In addition, with no considerable news on tap for Friday's session and markets closed on Monday for Memorial Day, equity markets worldwide saw considerable pullbacks.

The major U.S. averages opened notably lower following the jobs report and lingered in negative territory throughout the day, before finishing just off of their daily lows. Subsequently, the Dow closed down by 129.91 at 8292.13, the Nasdaq finished down by 32.59 at 1695.25, and the S&P 500 also fell, closing down by 15.14 at 888.33.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US60.85c by 8am on Friday, unchanged from its level at 5pm on Thursday, after falling to around US60.20c overnight.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Friday, market leader Telecom remained unchanged, as second ranked Contact Energy fell 1.54%, and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, gave up 1.53%.

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

In the energy sector, Vector gained 0.47%, as TrustPower dropped 1.28% in the early trading on Friday.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP, Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan and Telstra remained unchanged, as Westpac Bank dropped 1.96%.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil fell 0.61%, Sky City slipped 0.34% and Sky Network Television eased 0.24%, as Mainfreight, Methven, Nuplex and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged. Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down 1.59%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare remained unchanged.

Apart from Vector, gainers in the day's early trading were few among the stocks listed under the NZX 50 index. The other gainers were- NZX Limited by 0.61%, Ryman Healthcare Limited by 1.23% and Sanford Limited by 0.36%

The losers on Thursday morning included- Auckland International Airport by 0.62%, Cavalier Corporation by 1.12%, Freightways by 0.99%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.23%, Kiwi Income Property Trust 1.08%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 0.67%, Pike River Coal by 2.73%, and Rakon by 0.66%.

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