RTTNews - Modest gains are forecast for the opening of the New Zealand and Australia sharemarkets on Friday, on the heels of Wall Street's slight advance overnight. U.S. stocks closed higher, despite disappointing news on employment and retail sales.

New Zealand's market gained ground on Thursday, boosted by more strong interest in Fletcher Building on the heels of its better-than-expected earnings report on Wednesday.

The benchmark NZX 50 index rose 49.2 points or 1.6 percent to 3,128.9.

Trading volume was reported by the New Zealand Stock Exchange at x million shares valued at NZ$ million.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 67 to 26 with 24 closing unchanged.

Fletcher Building posted its second straight significant gain, rising .32 or 4.2 percent.

Steel & Tube was down a penny after reporting a 15.9 percent annual earnings increase.

Opus was up .03 after reporting interim earnings that were down 44 percent,

AMP Office Trust was up .02 after reporting a 13.4 percent profit increase.

Among the session's most actively traded stocks, Auckland International Airport was up NZ$0.03, Air NZ was up .02, AMP NZ Office Trust was up .02, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was up .03, Infratil was down .02, Pike River Coal was up .03, SkyCity Entertainment was up .09, and Telecom Corp of NZ was up four cents.

For the dual-listed stocks, Telstra was down .05, Westpac Bank was up .92, Lion Nathan was unchanged, Australia and NZ Bank was up .60, AMP was up .24 and APN News & Media was up .06.

Australia's sharemarket rose to its highest level in 10 months Thursday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 92.8 points or 2.1 percent to end at 4,435.9 while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 90.8 points or 2.1 percent at 4,436.7.

Trading volume it 3.32 billion shares valued at A$6.13 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 766 to 385, with 299 unchanged.

The financial sector led the way, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia rising A$2.21, Australia and NZ Banking Group was up .60, National Australia Bank was up $1.10 and Westpac was up .92. Macquarie Group was up .95.

Among the big mining companies, BHP Billiton was up .27 while rival Rio Tinto was up .80, Fortescue Metals was up a dime and OZ Minerals rose four cents.

Shares of Coca-cola Amatil were up .02 after the company reported a 10.4 percent rise in first half earnings .

In the retail sector, Woolworths advanced .21, Wesfarmers was up .30, Harvey Norman was up 02 and David Jones advanced .04.

In overseas trading on Thursday, Wall Street put in a mixed performance after opening the day with disappointing data on retail sales. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 36.58 points or 0.39 percent at 9,398.19, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10.63 points or 0.53 percent at 2,009.35 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 6.92 points or 0.69 percent at 1,012.73.

All of the major Asia/Pacific markets except South Korea's finished higher on Thursday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average gained 82.19 points or 0.79 percent to close at 10,517.19.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 426.06 points or 2.08 percent at 20,861,30.

China's Shanghai Composite index was up 27.84 points or 0.89 percent at 3,140.56.

In India, the BSE 30 index was up 498.33 points or 3.32 percent at 15,518.49.

The Jakarta Composite index in Indonesia was up 49.13 points or 2.09 percent at 2,396.49.

The KOSPI/Seoul Composite index in South Korea was down 0.71 points or 0.05 percent at 1,564.64.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was up 136.06 points or 1.97 percent at 7,034.96.

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