RTTNews - The New Zealand stock market opened marginally higher on Wednesday, following a modestly positive overnight lead Wall Street where major U.S. averages closed slightly higher on reports that showed improvements in U.S. consumer spending and pending home sales.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 8.35 points or 0.27% to 3,101.15 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index added 3.90 points or 0.12% to 3,145.93.

New Zealand's market was higher on Tuesday. The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 44.95 points or 1.45 percent to 3,092.8. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 59.3 million shares carrying a cumulative value of NZ$122.4 million.

Overseas, U.S. stocks ended Tuesday's trading on a positive note amid some late session buying interest. The major averages all finished in positive territory by moderate margins, building on yesterday's strong gains that helped the Nasdaq and S&P 500 cross key levels.

On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing that pending home sales growth in June exceeded economist estimates by a wide margin. With the increase, pending sales rose for the fifth consecutive month.

The NAR said its pending home sales index jumped 3.6 percent to 94.6 in June from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May. Economists had been expecting a much more modest increase by the index of about 0.7 percent.

Earlier, the Commerce Department released a report showing that personal spending increased by slightly more than expected, while personal income fell by more than expected. The report showed that personal spending rose 0.4 percent in June following a revised 0.1 percent increase in May. Economists had been expecting spending to increase by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.3 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

At the same time, the Commerce Department said that personal income fell by 1.3 percent in June after increasing by a revised 1.3 percent in the previous month. The decrease compares to economist estimates of a 1.0 percent decline. The report added that personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 4.6 percent in June compared with 6.2 percent in May.

On the earnings front, Centex (CTX) was one of the few bright spots among a slew of disappointing results that included Pulte (PHM), D.R. Horton (DHI), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Tenet Healthcare (THC), among others.

The major U.S. averages showed a notable upward move going into the close, climbing back above the unchanged line. The Dow closed up by 33.63 points or 0.4 percent at 9,320.19, the Nasdaq advanced by 2.70 points or 0.1 percent to 2,011.31 and the S&P 500 rose by 3.02 points or 0.3 percent to 1,005.65.

Crude-oil priced paused Tuesday as traders took profits following a dramatic recent run-up. Crude oil dropped to $71.42, down 16 cents on the session. Prices reached as low as $70.16 after earlier touching as high as $71.91.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US67.20c by about 8 am on Wednesday, when compared to US66.77 at 5 pm on Tuesday. The kiwi was trading at around US66.60c during the night.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Wednesday, market leader Telecom remained unchanged, as second ranked Contact Energy surged 1.68% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, collected 0.96%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International and Pumpkin Patch remained unchanged, as Warehouse gained 0.25%. Among energy stocks, TrustPower slipped 0.64%, as Vector added 0.50%.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP, Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged on Wednesday morning.

Among other notable stocks Infratil advanced 0.55%, Methven gained 0.69%, Nuplex added 0.51%, Sky City gained 0.58 % and Sky Network Television collected 0.22%, as Mainfreight and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged. While Fisher & Paykel Appliances added remained unchanged, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare lost 0.31%.

The losers among the stocks listed under the NZX 50 index on Wednesday morning included-- Guinness Peat Group by 4.91%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 0.61%, New Zealand Refining Company by 0.29%, NZX Limited by 0.52%, Property For Industry Limited by 0.89% and Tower by 0.55%.

The major gainers in the day's early trading included-- Air New Zealand by 0.87%, AMP NZ Office Trust by 1.28%, Ebos Group by 1.31%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.01%, NZ Farming Systems by 6.00%, Pike River Coal by 0.85%, Ryman Healthcare by 1.69%, Skellerup Holdings by 1.82% and Tourism Holdings by 3.45%.

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