Shares ease on mixed economic news

22:18, Jan 31 2013

New Zealand shares eased into the red this morning, taking the lead from Wall Street where stocks slipped overnight on a mixed bag of economic data.

The NZX 50 Index fell 4.7 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 4,247.95 in the first 30 minutes of trade. 15 stocks fell and seven rose.

The New Zealand dollar recently traded at US83.87 cents, down from US84.20c at 8am this morning and up from US83.48 cents at 5pm yesterday.

The US has been barraged by mixed economic data this week. The latest releases included a business activity measure in the Midwest at its strongest since last April, and an earlier report indicating a rise in jobless claims.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 34.98 points, or 0.25 percent, to 13,875.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 4.81 points, or 0.32 percent, and the Nasdaq slipped 4.74 points, or 0.15 percent.

Locally, commercial and industrial real estate investor Property For Industry led decliners on the local bourse, down 1.6 per cent to $1.23.

Guinness Peat Group, the investment holding company, fell 0.8 per cent to 60c.

Jeweller Michael Hill International fell 0.8 per cent to $1.23.

NZX, the market operator, fell 0.8 per cent to $1.33.

Children's clothing chain Pumpkin Patch fell 0.7 per cent to $1.36.

Shares in SkyCity were unchanged at the open after speculation that the casino and hotel operator was planning a big expansion into the lucrative Manila gaming market.

New Zealand Oil and Gas led gainers. Stock in the energy exploration and production firm rose 0.6 per cent to 91c.

Trade Me Group, the online auctioneer, rose 0.5 per cent to $4.20. Infratil, the infrastructure investment company, rose 0.4 per cent to $2.47.

Steel & Tube, the construction materials supplier, rose 0.4 per cent to $2.53.