5 Mar 2014

NZ dollar steady against Australian

7:16 pm on 5 March 2014

The New Zealand dollar is steady against the Australian dollar and higher against the currencies of the country's other major trading partners.

Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer says two opposing forces played out on the currency on Wednesday.

He says Australian GDP for the fourth quarter was a small positive surprise and the Australian currency went up followed by the New Zealand dollar.

Mr Speizer says within the hour the Chinese currency was weakened by the authorities and then the Australian fell and the New Zealand dollar followed that too.

Australia's economy expanded 2.8 percent in calendar 2013, well above the 2.5 percent growth economists had expected.

At about 5pm on Wednesday, the Kiwi was trading at 83.9 US cents, up from 83.65 cents at 5pm on Tuesday, 93.64 Australian cents, 50.36 British pence, 0.6111 euro and 85.75 yen.

Sharemarket up 40 points

The sharemarket continued to carve out new territory, the benchmark Top 50 Index rising as high as 5076 points before closing at 5073, up 40 points.

That's the fourth consecutive day the index has reached fresh records.

Devon Funds portfolio manager Nick Dravitski says the New Zealand market took its lead from offshore.

He says on Tuesday Fletcher Building had some stronger than expected approval numbers in Australia, particularly for detached housing and Australia's GDP was also a bit above expectations which seems to have had a flow on effect to Fletcher Building's performance.

Mr Dravitski says Restaurant Brands published their fourth quarter sales and same store sales were up strongly for KFC at 4 percent.

He says Air New Zealand has continued to perform well after reporting a good result last week.

Fletcher Building shares rose 10 cents to $9.65, Restaurant Brands shares gained 6 cents to $2.86 and Air New Zealand shares climbed 4 cents to $1.85.5 - they have risen more than 30 percent in the past 12 months.

However, Forsyth Barr head of research Andy Bowley thinks the shares can rise further. He is targeting them to reach $2.30 in the next 12 months.