18 Dec 2013

NZ dollar little changed, but sharp drop in sharemarket

7:28 pm on 18 December 2013

The New Zealand dollar is little changed against the currencies of all its major trading partners on Wednesday.

ASB Bank head of external foreign exchange sales Tim Kelleher says the market is awaiting expected comments from the Federal Reserve in the United States and for key local data.

"The Federal Reserve is first up in the morning at 8am New Zealand time, certainly the US data's been a lot stronger in the last month so there is some limited expectation we may get some guidance from their Federal Reserve."

But Mr Kelleher says that may not happen because historically the Federal Reserve has taken any action in either the first or second quarter.

He says New Zealand gross domestic product figures are being released at 10.45am on Thursday and that will be a key indicator for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and whether it will hike interest rates in January, which is ahead of forecasts.

ASB Bank is forecasting the economy grew 1.3% in the September quarter compared with the Reserve Bank's 1.1% forecast.

At about 5pm on Wednesday, the kiwi was trading at 82.47 US cents, 92.61 Australian cents, 50.64 British pence, 0.5989 euro and 84.91 yen.

Sharp fall in sharemarket

The sharemarket ended sharply lower, the benchmark Top 50 Index dropping 52 points to 4676.

Craigs Investment Partners head of wealth research Mark Lister says stock investors are also waiting to see whether the Fed will begin tapering its current stimulus.

He says it's likely to be some time before there is more clarity around Chorus which is effecting the share price.

Mr Lister says SkyCity's earning guidance has been to talk market guidance down a bit and it's impacted by the New Zealand dollar which keeps rising against the Australian dollar.

He says Summerset had a good day and is one of the only stocks to have been in the green after announcing it would invest almost $200 million in two Christchurch sites.

Chorus fell 7 cents to $1.43, SkyCity dropped 7 cents to $3.75 while Summerset rose 4 cents to $3.23.