Offshore markets down

Shares were lower in the United States on Monday as profit taking and caution ahead of the coming earnings season, took hold.

The Dow Jones index was down 75.49 points, or 0.6%, at 13,359.72.

Bank of America shares fell 0.5% after it announced a deal worth $US11.6 billion to settle longstanding mortgage claims from Fannie Mae, and the sale of servicing rights on $US306 billion worth of mortgages.

The S&P 500 fell 8.56 points to 1,457.91 while the Nasdaq dropped 10.63 points to 3,091.03.

Earlier, the FTSE in London was down 0.41%, the DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.56% and the CAC-40 in Paris was down 0.68%.

The Australian 200 index was down six points to 4,717 and the NZX 50 index closed up nine points, at 4084.

The New Zealand dollar on Tuesday was trading at 83.55 US cents, 79.67 Australian cents, 51.89 pence, 73.25 yen and 0.637 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 75.17.

Gold was trading at $US1646 per ounce.

Next story in Business: Vehicle sales up in Japan