RTTNews - The New Zealand stocks market opened flat on Tuesday on a mixed lead from Wall Street, where U.S. stocks closed mixed as uncertainty about an economic recovery continued and commodity prices fell sharply.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was down 0.95 points or 0.03% to 2,742.01 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index added 0.04 points or 0.00% to 2,812.11.

New Zealand's share market closed modestly lower in a lightly traded session on Monday. The benchmark NZX 50 index ended 2,742.9, a loss of 18.5 pints or 0.7 percent. Trading volume was reported by the New Zealand Stock Exchange at 22.1 million shares valued at NZ$42.7 million.

Overseas, U.S. stocks were able to shed most of their losses in late trading on Monday after a sharp move to the downside in early going. While the Dow and S&P 500 finished modestly higher, the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed on the downside.

On the economic front, traders in the U.S. largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing that activity in the service sector contracted for the ninth consecutive month in June, although at a slower pace than economists had been expecting.

The ISM said its index of activity in the service sector rose to 47.0 in June from 44.0 in May, but a reading below 50 indicates a contraction. Economists had been expecting the index to come in at 46.0.

Despite the major indices all moving higher going into the close, the Nasdaq was unable to break into positive territory. Subsequently, the Nasdaq finished down by 9.12 points or 0.5 percent at 1,787.40, while the Dow closed up by 44.13 points or 0.5 percent at 8,324.87 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.30 or 0.3 percent to 898.72.

Crude oil plunged 4% on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday amid demand concerns as investors bet on a slower-than-hoped economic recovery. The drop took crude to its lowest level in nearly two weeks.

Light sweet crude for August delivery settled at $64.05 per barrel, down $2.68 on the session. Oil touched an intraday low of $63.40.

Investors were eagerly awaiting the Energy Information Administration inventory report, which will be released on Wednesday. Last week's report showed crude oil inventories decreased by 3.7 million barrels from the previous week. Experts predicted a decline of about 2.2 million barrels.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US63.67c at about 8am on Tuesday, compared to US62.80c at 5pm on Monday. During the night, the kiwi had touched a three-week low of around US62.40c.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Tuesday, market leader Telecom remained unchanged, as second ranked Contact Energy added 0.35% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, eased 0.31%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson and Warehouse remained unchanged, as jewelry retailer Michael Hill International dropped 1.59% and Pumpkin Patch slumped 2.67%.

In the energy sector, Vector and TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Tuesday.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP, Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged in the day's early trading.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil eased 0.60%, Nuplex added 0.68% and Steel & Tube Holdings dropped 1.79%, as Mainfreight, Methven, Sky Network Television and Sky City remained unchanged. Fisher & Paykel Appliances collected 1.52%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gave up 0.69%.

The major gainers in the day's early trading included-- Auckland International Airport by 0.66%, Air New Zealand by 1.15%, New Zealand Refining Company by 0.15%, PGG Wrightson by 1.85%, Pike River Coal by 0.8%, Rakon by 3.45%, Tourism Holdings by 4.44% and Tower by 1.18%.

The losers in the early trading on Tuesday included-- Freightways by 1.07%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.10%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.75%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 1.29%, NZX Limited by 0.68% and Ryman Healthcare by 0.63%.

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