The New Zealand dollar was little changed as investors mulled mixed US economic data releases overnight as they await the key US nonfarm payroll data tomorrow for a steer on the outlook for growth in the world's largest economy.

The kiwi was trading at 68.82 US cents at 8am in Wellington, from 68.85 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index was at 72.95 from 72.83 yesterday.

Traders pushed the US dollar lower overnight after a worse-than-expected ADP national employment report showed US companies added 156,000 jobs in April, the smallest increase in three years.

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However, it came back in favour in the early hours of the morning, after data showing the US trade gap shrank to its smallest in 13 months in March and factory orders grew 1.1 percent, more than analysts forecast.


Traders are now awaiting Friday's US jobs report as they try to gauge whether the economy may pick up in the second quarter. The report is expected to show nonfarm payrolls rose by 202,000 in April, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent, according to a Reuters survey.

"Markets seem to be at something of a crossroads at present, waiting for clearer signals on whether US activity will bounce back in Q2, or whether the loss of momentum will extend further," ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Sharon Zollner and senior foreign exchange strategist Sam Tuck said in a note. "Data releases overnight provided something for everyone. We suspect markets will be relatively quiet awaiting tomorrow's US payrolls release."

ANZ expects the kiwi will trade between 68.60 US cents and 69.60 cents today.

The New Zealand dollar gained to 92.26 Australian cents from 91.81 cents yesterday ahead of Australian retail sales and trade data today.

The local currency edged lower to 59.89 euro cents from 59.93 cents, slipped to 73.57 yen from 73.77 yen, and weakened to 4.4695 yuan from 4.4737 yuan. It advanced to 47.47 British pence from 47.33 pence