7 Feb 2014

Market awaits US jobs data

7:07 pm on 7 February 2014

The New Zealand dollar is little changed against the currencies of all major trading partners,

Rankin Treasury Advisory managing director Derek Rankin said the market was waiting on key figures from the United States to provide direction.

"The US employment report is due tonight and, as usual, the market is waiting to see what's happening with American numbers," Mr Rankin said.

"There's a lot of speculation, of course, around these numbers."

The December numbers had been poor, driven by bad weather, so people wanted to see how much they had moved.

"So everyone's on standby, waiting to see what this US data is going to reveal," he said.

If the jobs data moves the US dollar, the New Zealand dollar will move in the opposite direction.

Just after 5pm on Friday, the New Zealand dollar was buying: 82.28 US cents, 91.95 Australian cents, 50.38 pence, 0.6053 euro and 83.91 yen.

Chorus gains

New Zealand shares rose, the NZX Top 50 Index gaining 33 points to 4841.

The highlight on Friday was the gain in telephone lines company Chorus after the Commerce Commission set itself a 1 December deadline to determine the actual cost to Chorus of providing broadband access to its copper network.

That's when its ruling, based on benchmarking against other countries, that Chorus must halve its wholesale price for broadband access to $10.92 comes into effect.

Telecommunications Commissioner Stephen Gale said the new price would have a significant impact on the fixed-line telecommunications market and the commission wanted to provide certainty.

"Otherwise, the price we determined last November will come into effect on that day and if we haven't confirmed it by then, it'll change once and then it will change again," Dr Gale said.

"So all of those just contribute to uncertainty in the market, and that's bad for investment in this sector and probably more widely."

Chorus shares rose as high as $1.53 before closing at $1.49, up 11 cents.

Shares in Air New Zealand fell half a cent to $1.68 after Virgin Australia said it expected to report a $A49 million first-half loss. Air New Zealand owns more than 24 percent of Virgin.