12 Nov 2013

Dollar down as investors focus on US

7:25 pm on 12 November 2013

The New Zealand dollar has fallen slightly against the US and is also down against the currencies of our other major trading partners.

Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer said investors remained focused on when the United States Federal Reserve was likely to reduce stimulus of the American economy.

"The kiwi-US continues to decline. It lost about half a cent today to a low of 82.06 and the main driver for that stems from last week, when we saw some strong US data, particularly their payroll report," Mr Speizer said.

"The market is still reeling from that surprise because that brings Fed tapering back on the table, possibly as early as December some people think."

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was buying: 82.34 US cents, 88.22 Australian cents, 51.53 pence, 0.6144 euro and 81.98 yen.

Sharemarket mixed

The NZX Top 50 Index fell 7 points to 4916, with logistics company Mainfreight the highlight of a mixed day with its report of a 51% rise in first-half net profit to nearly $42 million.

Woodward Partners institutional equities director Grant Taylor said it was not so much Mainfreight's result as the commentary which inspired investors.

"The market does like the Mainfreight result. While the numbers were in line with market expectation, the commentary that was attached to it, especially with regards to the last two months in New Zealand, was received positively by the market," Mr Taylor said.

Mainfreight shares rose 24 cents to $11.75, while units in Kiwi Income Property Trust gained 2 cents to $1.13, which Mr Taylor said was mainly due to the internalisation of its management contract.

"The market was expecting the cost of that internalisation to be higher and so with the number being suggested around $70 million, the market has reacted positively to the announcement," he said.

However, shares in Metlifecare fell 11 cents to $4.36, which Mr Taylor attributed to profit-taking.

The stock had been sought-after recently so today's result was simply a slight pulling back, he said.