The New Zealand dollar was largely left on the sidelines as US stock markets recovered on Boxing Day when Amazon and other retailers mounted a comeback on strong consumer spending.

The kiwi traded at 67.17 US cents as at 8.30am in Wellington from 67.24 cents yesterday and 67.15 cents on Christmas Eve. The trade-weighted index decreased to 73.56 from 73.76 yesterday.

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Wall Street snapped a four-day decline, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index up 2.8 per cent in late trading, led by retailers and tech stocks after a Mastercard report showed consumer spending through the holiday season was the strongest in six years.

The recovery followed a sharp selloff on Christmas Eve, when investors were spooked by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's unusual statement that he'd sought assurances from bank executives that their institutions were healthy and had ample liquidity.


Investors have been increasingly sensitive about White House communications, with uncertainty hanging over a raft of geopolitical issues including the China-US trade stoush, the US withdrawal from Syria and resignation of its Defense Secretary, and the investigation into whether the 2016 presidential election was subject to foreign interference.

"Retailers and tech stocks are really driving this rally, assisted by energy stocks, but everyone has come in and pushed significantly higher," said Stuart Ive, a foreign exchange dealer at OMF. "The kiwi has remained pretty steady."

No local data is scheduled for release today, and while the markets are open today, trading is likely to be thin with many people away for the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

The kiwi fell to 95.16 Australian cents from 95.54 cents yesterday, and rose to 74.51 yen from 74.15 yen. It traded at 59.11 euro cents from 59.17 cents yesterday, and was at 53.12 British pence from 53.19 pence. The local currency declined to 4.6243 Chinese yuan from 4.6301 yuan yesterday.