RTTNews - The New Zealand share markets opened modestly weaker on Thursday, following a mixed overnight lead from the Wall Street, where the major U.S. averages closed the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was down 6.27 points or 0.23% to 2,744.32 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index fell 6.89 points or 0.24% to 2,821.73.

New Zealand's market was the only one in the Asia/Pacific region to post a gain on Wednesday, thanks to heavy buying of Telecom Corp. The benchmark NZX-50 index gained 4.4 points or 0.16 percent to close at 2,750.6. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 41.0 million shares carrying a cumulative value of NZ$119.9 million.

Overseas, U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses over the course of the trading session on Wednesday after a modest upward move at the open. They, however, ended the day little changed. The U.S. major averages finished mixed after posting steep losses in the previous session.

The lack of direction that was seen over the course of the trading day came as traders were reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the start of the earnings season.

Shortly after the closing bell, Alcoa (AA) reported an adjusted second quarter loss of $256 million or $0.26 per share, while Wall Street expected the company to report a loss of $0.37 per share. The firm also said its quarterly revenues were $4.2 billion, edging out analyst estimates of $3.93 billion.

The release of quarterly results from Alcoa is seen as the unofficial start of the earnings season, as the aluminum producer is typically the first Dow component to reports its results.

Some of the day's selling pressure was mitigated by the results of the Treasury Department's $19.0 billion offering of ten-year notes. The sale drew a high-yield of 3.365 percent while attracting very strong demand, with the bid-to-cover ratio coming in at 3.28, the highest on record. 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 closed on opposite sides of the unchanged mark by slim margins, with the S&P 500 closing modestly lower despite a late-session rally. The Dow closed up by 14.81 points or 0.2 percent at 8,178.41 and the Nasdaq rose by 1 point or 0.1 percent to 1,747.17, while the S&P 500 fell 1.47 points or 0.2 percent to 879.56.

Oil plunged for a sixth straight session on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday and reached its lowest level in seven weeks. Prices dropped on government data that revealed a build in gasoline and distillate fuel supplies in the recent week.

Light sweet crude oil settled at $60.14, a drop of $2.79 for the session, posting its lowest finish since May 19. Prices touched as low as $60.01 earlier in the session.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US62.59c at about 8am on Thursday, compared to US62.85c at 5pm on Wednesday. In the early hours of Thursday, the kiwi had fallen to a a month low around US61.95c.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Thursday, market leader Telecom fell 1.79%, as second ranked Contact Energy remained unchanged and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, gained 0.31%.

In the retail sector, Pumpkin Patch and jewelry retailer Michael Hill International remained unchanged, as Hallenstein Glasson eased 0.38% and Warehouse added 0.54%. Among energy stocks, Vector and TrustPower remained unchanged.

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, Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Mainfreight, Sky City, Sky Network Television and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged. Infratil gained 0.60%, Methven fell 1.52% and Nuplex added 0.68%.

Among gainers on Thursday morning were-- Auckland International Airport by 0.65%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.10%, ING Property Trust by 3.17% and Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.10%.

The losers in the day's early trading included-- Freightways by 0.72%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.75%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 0.66% and Rakon by 0.68%.

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