RTTNews - Positive opens are expected Friday for the New Zealand and Australia sharemarkets, following overnight gains on Wall Street. U.S. stocks were boosted by better than expected economic data.

While the rest of the Asia/Pacific region moved lower, the New Zealand market managed a gain on Thursday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 20.2 points or 0.7 percent at 2,798.24.

Turnover volume was reported by the NZ Stock Exchange at 60.35 million shares valued at NZ$153 million.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 47 to 39 with 26 unchanged.

Among the session's most actively traded issues, Auckland International Airport was up NZ$0.05, AMP New Zealand Office Trust was unchanged, Fletcher Building was up .09,Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down .02, Goodman Property Trust was up .02, Guinness Peat was unchanged, Kiwi Income Properties was unchanged, SkyCity Entertainment was up four cents, Telecom Corp of NZ was up a dime and Telstra was down .09.

Across the Tasman, Australia's sharemarket finished lower for a fourth consecutive session. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed down 12.0 points or 0.3 percent at 3,892.1 while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 16.8 points or 0.4 percent at 3,887.4.

The banking stocks were mostly higher, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia up .37, National Australia Bank was up .32 and Westpac gained .31 while Australia and NZ Banking Group fell a dime. Investment bank Macquarie Group was up A$1.02.

The resources sector was a mixed bag. For the big miners, BHP Billiton declined .91 or nearly 3 percent while rival Rio Tinto sank $5.16 or 9 percent. Among the junior miners, Fortescue Metals was down .06 and OZ Minerals was down .04.

For the energy-related stocks, Woodside Petroleum was down .41, Oil Search gained .16 and Origin Energy was unchanged.

Among the coal miners, Macarthur Coal was in a trading halt after announcing a capital raising initiative and saying full year profits will rise dramatically. Felix Resources was up .43 and Centennial Coal advanced one penny.

In the retail sector, Woolworths was up .12 and Wesfarmers gained .40 while Harvey Norman dropped .06, JB Hi-Fi was down .30 and David Jones rose .07.

Overseas, U.S. markets moved broadly higher on the back of better-than-expected economic data, with the financial and health care sectors leading the way. With about 20 minutes left in the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 67.11 points or 0.79 percent at 8,564.29, the Nasdaq Composite index was ahead by 0.64 points or 0.04 percent at 1,808.70 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 7.38 points or 0.81 percent at 918.09.

With the exception of China's, all of the other major Asia/Pacific markets finished lower on Thursday.

China's Shanghai Composite index posted a gain of 43.78 points or 1.56 percent to close at 2,853.90.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Average was down 137.13 points or 1.39 percent to 9,703.72.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 307.94 points or 1.70 percent to 17,776.66.

The BSE 30 index in India was down 257.31 points or 1.77 percent to 14,265.53.

In Indonesia, the Jakarta Composite index was down 73.98 points or 3.65 percent at 1,950.99.

South Korea's KOSPI/Seoul Composite index declined 15.41 points or 1.11 percent to 1,375.76.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was down 51.38 points or 0.83 percent to 6,144.53.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com