5 Jun 2014

Shares steady while dollar rises

6:21 pm on 5 June 2014

New Zealand shares were steady on Thursday, with the benchmark Top 50 Index closing unchanged at 5159 points.

Murray & Co wealth management director Johnny Cochrane said the share market had made significant gains this year, so some consolidation was to be expected.

"It has started to drift slightly but that's understandable, given the market is up around 8.9 percent year-to-date, and we're only in June (so) you would expect some consolidation after a strong move like that," Mr Cochrane said.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare again had a strong day, gaining 10 cents to $4.60. However, Xero shares fell 26 cents to $29.80 and Diligent shares dropped 4 cents to $4.11. Both stocks have been affected by weakness in US technology stocks.

Pacific Edge shares were steady at 81 cents after earlier rising as much as 84 cents. The shares fell as low as 68 cents on Wednesday from as high as $1.76 earlier this year.

Dollar up

The New Zealand dollar has risen slightly against all the currencies of the country's major trading partners.

Bank of New Zealand currency strategist Raiko Shareef said currency levels were shifting in preparation for some potentially big announcements over the next couple of days.

"For the Kiwi especially, I think it's a little bit of a bounce from the very low levels that we achieved last night.

"I think there might be a bit of profit-taking on the cards after quite a substantial selling of the currency over the past week or so.

"That would be because traders are trying to take some risk off the table ahead of some pretty important market events over the next couple of nights.

"Tonight we have the European Central Bank announcement, where they're widely expected to announce some pretty comprehensive policy easing. That could cause quite a bit of market volatility."

The United States Non-Farm Payrolls result is being released on Friday night New Zealand time, "which always has the market's attention".

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was buying: 84.43 US cents, 90.89 Australian cents, 50.41 pence, 0.6206 euro, 86.53 yen and 5.28 renminbi.