RTTNews - Lower opens are expected Thursday for the New Zealand and Australia sharemarkets, following Wall Street's weak performance overnight. U.S. stocks were headed toward a lower close, following the release of disappointing data on service sector activity.

New Zealand's market posted modest losses on Wednesday. The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 8.73 points or 0.28 percent to close at 3,084.07.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 51.2 million shares valued at NZ$141.1 million.

Among the day's most heavily traded stocks, Auckland International Airport was unchanged, Air NZ was unchanged, AMP NZ Office Trust was unchanged, Fletcher Building was down NZ$0.06, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down .02, F & P Healthcare was down .07, Goodman Property Trust was down a penny, Mainfreight was up .04, SkyCity Entertainment was down .14, Vector was up .03 and Telecom Corp of NZ was down a penny.

Among the dual-listed issues, Telstra was up .03, Westpac Bank was down .13, AMP was up .01, Australia and NZ bank was down .34, APN News & Media was up a penny, Goodman was up 5.5 cents and Lion Nathan was down a penny.

Across the Tasman, Australia's market was lower, with the financial sector weighing on the overall picture.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index declined 44.8 points or 1.04 percent at 4,264.5 while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 41.7 points or 0.19 percent at 4.272.2.
Turnover totaled 6.07 million shares valued at A$7.44 billion.

There were 425 stocks closing higher, 607 were lower and 360 were unchanged.

The big four banks were lower, with Australia and NZ Bank was down A$0.34, Commonwealth Bank of Australia was down $1.28, National Australia was down .41 and Westpac was down .13. Investment Bank Macquarie Group was down $1.58.

In the resources sector, mining giant BHP Billiton was down .69 and rival Rio Tinto declined $2.11, Fortescue Metals was up .07 and OZ Minerals was down .03.

Among the retailers, David Jones was down .44 or more than 8 percent after reporting a Q4 rise in sales of 0.6 percent but a 1.2 percent fall in same-store sales. Woolworths was up .12, Wesfarmers was down .08, Harvey Norman was down .14 and JB Hi-Fi was down .64.

Overseas, Wall Street spent much of Wednesday's session in the red, and appeared headed toward a modestly lower close.

About 40 minutes before the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 25.39 points or 0.27 percent at 9.294.80, the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 16.32 points or 0.81 percent at 1,994.99 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was lower by 1.52 points or 0.15 percent at 1,004.13.

All of the major Asia/Pacific markets except India's closed lower on Wednesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Average was down 122.48 points or 1.18 percent at 10,252.53.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 301.66 points or 1.45 percent at 20.494.77.

In China, the Shanghai Composite index was down 42.94 points or 1.24 percent at 3,428.50.

India's BSE 30 index was up 72.85 points or 0.46 percent at 15,903.83.

The Jakarta Composite index in Indonesia was down 43.03 points or 1.82 percent at 2.317.06.

The KOSPI/Seoul Composite index in South Korea fell 6.90 points or 0.44 percent at 1,559.47.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was down 107.63 points or 1.55 percent at 6,848.24.

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