Investors wait on financial reporting season

New Zealand shares rallied marginally today, with many investors sitting on their hands awaiting the results of the financial reporting season.

Steel and Tube Holdings Ltd led the gainers, while Metlifecare Ltd fell.

The NZX50 Index rose 1.9 points or 0.04 per cent  to close at 4,187.08.

Twenty-seven stocks rose and 16 fell.

About 6pm, the kiwi traded at US83.9c, up slightly from US83.63c at 8am this morning.

Construction materials supplier Steel and Tube Holdings led gainers on the local bourse, up 4.31 per cent to $2.66.

Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson said investors seeking exposure to the Christchurch rebuild had pushed the stock to its highest level in more than a year.

Telstra Corp, the Australian phone company, rose 2.68 per cent to close at $5.75.

PGG Wrightson, the rural services company, rose 2.22 per cent to close at 46c.

Aged care and housing provider Metlifecare led the decliners after rising yesterday, falling 2.15 per cent to close at $3.18.    Property for Industry Ltd, the commercial and real estate investors was next, falling 1.64 per cent to $1.20.

Williamson said many investors were waiting for next month when reporting season kicked off.

However, a number of retail stocks such as The Warehouse and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings rallied in the expectation of a Christmas season boost, he said.

On the currency markets the New Zealand dollar gained slightly against all its major trading partners as investors responded positively to an announcement of aggressive moves to battle recession in Japan.

About 6pm, the kiwi recently traded at US83.9c, up slightly from US83.63c, at 8am this morning, and closed at 75.3 on the Trade Weighted Index against major trading partners' currencies. It traded at 75.38 Japanese yen, up from 75.05 yen this morning.

Tim Kelleher, head of institutional forex sales at ASB institutional bank, said the Bank of Japan had exceeded the market's expectations with its aggressive effort to beat economic stagnation.

The BOJ has been under intense political pressure to overcome deflation and lift the world's third biggest economy out of recession.

In the United States, a "yes" vote tomorrow night for a temporary extension of the debt ceiling could boost the kiwi while a "no" vote could depress it.

On the crosses, about 6pm the kiwi traded at 79.69 Australian cents, up from A79.52c at 8am this morning. It was at 62.96 euro cents, up from 62.81 euro cents earlier. Against the British pound it was at 52.96 pence, up from 52.85 pence earlier.

Kelleher said the kiwi may trade in a range between US83.75c to US 84.25c overnight.

The 90 Day Bank bill rate was 2.66 per cent.