RTTNews - The New Zealand share markets opened marginally lower on Tuesday, led down by the market's leading share Telecom. The lower opening came despite a positive overnight lead from the Wall Street, where major U.S. averages closed notably higher in a light day of trading.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was down by 0.40 points or 0.01% to 2,774.71 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index posted a loss of 1.51 points or 0.05% to 2,840.26.

New Zealand's market opened the week with a small gain on Monday. The benchmark NZX-50 index added 4.5 points or 0.2 percent to close at 2,775.12. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported market trading volume of 40.8 million shares valued at NZ$125.3. Advancing issues totaled 31, decliners numbered 48 and there were 35 unchanged.

Overseas, U.S. stocks were able to move firmly into positive territory in a choppy mid-morning trading on Monday and managed to hover near their highs for most of the remainder of the session. The major averages kicked off the week on a strong note, finishing up by notable margins amid a low volume trading session.

The light volume came as some traders remained on the sidelines ahead of the release of key economic figures later in the week. Traders are looking ahead to data on home prices, consumer confidence, manufacturing and employment.

Amidst a light day on the economic front, the sentencing of Bernard Madoff for his $65 billion Ponzi scheme drew some attention, with Madoff receiving the maximum sentence of 150 years in prison. Despite arguments from his defense and words from the former financier himself that he was truly sorry, Judge Denny Chin ensured that Madoff would spend the rest of his life in jail.

All the major U.S. indices closed higher, with the Dow and the S&P 500 finishing near their best levels of the day. The Dow closed up 90.99 points or 1.1 percent at 8,529.38, the Nasdaq closed up 5.84 points or 0.3 percent at 1,844.06, and the S&P rose 8.33 points or 0.9 percent to 927.23.

Oil prices rose more than 3 percent on Monday morning on news of fresh rebel attacks on oil installations in Nigeria. U.S. crude rose $2.36 to US$71.52 a barrel by 18:24 GMT, as London Brent crude added $2.25 to $71.41.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US65.05c at about 8am on Tuesday, compared to US64.35c at 5pm on Monday. During the night, the kiwi had touched a four-week high of US65.20c before dropping by 8am.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Tuesday, market leader Telecom dropped 2.92% following announcements on mobile regulation by the Commerce Commission. Meanwhile, second ranked Contact Energy and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, remained unchanged.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson remained unchanged, as jewelry retailer Michael Hill International gained 1.52% and Warehouse added 0.54%. Pumpkin Patch surged 11.85% after the company announced that it was going to close 20 of its 35 stores in the United States.

In the energy sector, Vector collected 0.50%, as TrustPower gave up 0.65% 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, Methven and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged, as Mainfreight collected 0.47%, Nuplex advanced 1.35%, Sky City added 1.14% and Sky Network Television inched up by 0.47%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances climbed 1.52%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare posted a gain of 0.34%.

The other gainers in the day's early trading included-- Auckland International Airport by 1.27%, Freightways by 0.71%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.10%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.12%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 0.64%, New Zealand Refining Company by 0.73% and PGG Wrightson by 0.85%.

Apart from Telecom, the other losers in the early trading on Tuesday included-- Guinness Peat Group by 1.75%, Pike River Coal by 1.68%, Sanford Limited by 1.82%, Skellerup Holdings Limited by 1,79% and Tower Limited by 2.22%.

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