The New Zealand and Australia sharemarkets are expected to move higher at Friday's open, on the heels of more gains overnight on Wall Street.

New Zealand's sharemarket declined for a second straight session on Thursday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 14 points or 0.54 percent to 2,616.25.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 42.5 million shares valued at NZ$76.5 million

Among the session's most actively traded issues, Auckland International Airport was down $0.02, AMP NZ was down .02, Fisher & Paykel Appliances advanced .08, F & P Healthcare was down .01, Guinness Peat was down .02, Kiwi Properties was down a penny, Nuplex was up .15, NZ Oil & Gas dropped .02, PGG Wrightson was down a penny, SkyCity Entertainment was unchanged, Telecom Corp of NZ was down a nickel, Telstra dropped .14 and Tower was unchanged.

Across the Tasman, Australia's market advanced for a fourth straight session.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 37.3 points or 1.0 percent to finish at 3,646.6 while the broader All Ordinaries index advanced 40.1 points or 1.1 percent to 3,586.3.

Market turnover was 1.76 billion shares valued at A$4.92 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners 618 to 350 with 258 unchanged.

Despite a mid-year report from the Reserve Bank of Australia that the nation's banking sector remained strong and well-positioned, the financial sector was mixed.

Among the big banks, Australia and NZ Bank gained .60 and National Australia Bank rose .62 while Commonwealth Bank of Australia was down .63 and Westpac shed .02.

The big mining companies were stronger, with BHP Billiton up .52 and Rio Tinto advancing .77. Among the others, Fortescue Metals was up .20 and OZ Minerals was down .02.

For the coal miners, Felix Resources gained .49 or 5.5 percent, Gloucester Coal was up .12 and Macarthur Coal was up a dime.

Among the gold stocks, Lihir Gold was up .03, Newcrest Mining rose .55 and Newmont Mining was up .21.

In the retail sector, Woolworths was up .42, Wesfarmers declined .63, Harvey Norman was down a penny and David Jones was up a nickel.

Stocks on Wall Street appeared headed toward closing gains. With an hour left before the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 72.72 points or 0.94 percent at 7,822.5. On the broader market averages, the Nasdaq Composite index was up 32.75 points or 2.14 percent at 1,560.7, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 8.49 points or 1.0 percent at 822.4.

Most major markets around the Asia/Pacific region closed higher on Thursday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Average gained 156.34 points or 1.84 percent to 8,636.33.

China's Shanghai Composite index rose 70.15 points or 3.06 percent to 2,361.70

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 486.87 points or 3.57 percent to 14.108.98.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was down 16.14 points or 1.12 percent at 1,419.97.

In India, the BSE 30 index advanced 335.20 points or 3.47 percent to 10,003.10.

South Korea's KOSPI/Seoul Composite index was up 14.78 points or 1.20 percent to 1,243.80.

The Taiwan Weighted Index gained 40.18 points or 0.75 percent to 5,386.56.

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