RTTNews - The New Zealand share market opened moderately lower on Wednesday, following sharp overnight losses on Wall Street where major U.S. averages closed lower on profit taking.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was down 15.09 points or 0.55% to 2,731.14 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index fell 12.78 points or 0.45% to 2,806.50.

New Zealand's market advanced slightly in a day of light trading on Tuesday. The benchmark NZX-50 index gained 3.3 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 2,746.24. The New Zealand Stock Exchange posted trading volume of 27.4 million shares valued at NZ$68.2 million.

Overseas, U.S. stocks finished sharply lower on Tuesday, as traders did some profit taking on the day amid a lack of significant economic data to drive trading. The major averages all closed lower by considerable margins, with the sell off accelerating late in the session.

Cashing in on recent gains, traders braced for what is expected to be a dreary earnings reporting season, with aluminum producer Alcoa (AA) set to report after the close of trading on Wednesday.

Aside from the earnings data on tap for the second half of the week, traders are also looking ahead to a series of economic reports on employment, international trade and consumer sentiment, with expectations deflated following disheartening employment data last week.

Earlier today, the results of the Treasury's auction of $35 billion worth of three-year notes cooled investor anxiety in regards to rising interest rates amid the recessionary economic conditions.

The sale drew a high-yield of 1.519 percent and attracted moderately strong demand, with the bid-to-cover ratio coming in at 2.62. The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

The major U.S. averages all finished lower, seeing further downside in late day trading. The Dow fell 161.27 points or 1.9 percent to 8,163.60, the Nasdaq closed down 41.23 points or 2.3 percent at 1,746.17, while the S&P 500 dropped by 17.69 or 2 percent at 881.03.

Crude oil fell for a fifth straight session on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday and finished at its lowest level in more than six weeks. General concerns over the economy weighed on energy demand expectations.

Light sweet crude for August ended at $62.93 per barrel, down $1.12 for the day. Prices dropped as low as $62.35 after earlier reaching $64.91.

Oil has been trending sharply lower since July 1 when it last traded above $70 per barrel. The recent decline has taken crude below a support level near $66.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US62.93c at about 8am on Wednesday, compared to US63.66c at 5pm on Tuesday.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Wednesday, market leader Telecom fell 0.74%, as second ranked Contact Energy gave up 0.71% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, dropped 0.94%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International, Pumpkin Patch and Warehouse remained unchanged. Also, energy stocks Vector and TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Wednesday.

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, Mainfreight, Methven and Nuplex remained unchanged, as Sky City declined 0.75%, Sky Network Television fell 0.99% and Steel & Tube Holdings eased 0.36%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances slumped 1.49%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gave up 0.35%.

There were only two advancers among the stocks listed under the NZX-50 index on Wednesday morning. While Air New Zealand collected 2.30%, Sanford Limited collected 0.38%.

The losers in the early trading on Wednesday included-- AMP NZ Office Trust by 1.39%, Ebos by 0.74%, Freightways by 0.36%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.75%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.08%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 1.92%, Port of Tauranga by 0.66% and Pike River Coal by 1.74%.

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