31 Mar 2014

Share market just off record high

7:10 pm on 31 March 2014

New Zealand shares are little changed, the benchmark Top 50 Index slipping three points to 5140 but only 20 points off its record high.

Forsyth Barr investment adviser Euan McIntosh said market darling Xero was a drag on the market after weakness in American tech stocks.

Chorus shares also retreated after surging 6.5 percent on Friday, easing 1.5 cents to $1.71.5.

"The Commerce Commission came out on Friday and they've just confirmed that they're going to conduct a final pricing assessment of the existing Chorus network and the service that is provided by the company," Mr McIntosh said.

"That's likely to give the market considerable comfort."

Xero shares fell 65 cents to $39.35 and Methven dropped 4 cents to $1.15, while Kathmandu shares climbed 15 cents to $3.85.

Dollar becalmed

The New Zealand dollar was practically becalmed after last week hitting its highest level against the US dollar in two-and-a-half years.

Bancorp Treasury Services client advisor Peter Cavanaugh said the market was looking for the next trigger.

"The New Zealand dollar had a rush of blood to the head last week following some pretty buoyant domestic data, offshore data and comments from the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank more or less accepting where the New Zealand dollar is," Mr Cavanaugh said.

"Now it's in a holding pattern waiting for some relevant offshore developments."

Key developments this week which everybody would be waiting for were the Reserve Bank of Australia's meeting tomorrow, the European Central Bank having its monthly meeting on Thursday night and the US releasing its non-farm payroll and unemployment rates on Friday.

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 86.56 US cents, 93.74 Australian cents, 52.05 pence, 0.6295 euro and 89.03 yen.