9 Jul 2014

Dollar up after Fitch raises outlook

6:01 pm on 9 July 2014

The New Zealand dollar is mostly stronger against the major currencies after international ratings agency Fitch raised its outlook for the country's credit rating.

However, Bank of New Zealand foreign exchange strategist Raiko Shareef said the currency was not able to sustain its push to a three-year high above 88 US cents.

"Today, the New Zealand dollar has tested that 88 cent level once again," Mr Shareef said.

"I guess the overall theme for markets overnight was on one hand you had emerging market currencies and the Aussie and the Kiwi generally on the up, possibly helped by improved prospects for higher interest rates given that US rates dipped a bit lower.

"But on the other hand, equity markets, especially in the (United) States and Europe, took a little bit of a hit, and that will dampen down risk sentiment, especially going into the US earning season, which kicked off this morning."

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was buying: 87.93 US cents, 93.54 Australian cents, 51.3 pence, 0.6456 euro, 89.34 yen and 5.45 renminbi.

Shares down

New Zealand shares declined, the NZX Top 50 Index falling 43 points to 5123.

Harbour Asset Management director Craig Stent said the New Zealand market took its lead from Wall Street.

"The New Zealand market is down today following Wall Street's lead, and particularly the Nasdaq's market, which had a particularly weak night overnight, down around about 1.4 percent," Mr Stent said.

"So we've seen the follow-through today in some of the tech stocks."

Xero shares fell $1.01 to $25 and shares in Pacific Edge fell 1 cent to 77 cents after earlier rising to 80 cents.

But shares in Precinct Properties gained 1 cent to $1.08.5, and Michael Hill shares nudged up 3 cents to $1.33.