RTTNews - Mixed to higher opens are expected for the New Zealand and Australia sharemarkets on Wednesday. Traders got a mildly positive lead from Wall Street, as better than expected data on consumer confidence and home prices, along with the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chief boosted the markets.

The New Zealand market advanced modestly in a day of low volume trading.

The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 12.8 points or 0.4 percent to 3,080.5.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 32.9 million shares valued at NZ$60.2 million.

There were 44 issues closing higher, 35 were lower and 32 unchanged.

Shares of Vector were up NZ$0.01 after the company reported a 16.3 percent earnings increase.

Pike River Coal fell .11 or more than 9 percent after reporting the delay of a planned coal shipment.

Among the session's most heavily traded stocks, Auckland International Airport was up NZ$0.01, Fletcher Building was up a nickel, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was up a penny, Goodman Property Trust was down .02, Infratil was down .02, Kiwi Income Property Trust was up .01, ING Property Trust was also up a penny, SkyCity Entertainment was up .09, Telecom Corp of NZ was up .02 and Tower was down three cents.

Among the dual-listed issues, Westpac Bank was down .32, Telstra declined .01, Australia and NZ Banking Group was down .01 and AMP was up .14.

Australia's market also saw a day of light volume trading, and posted a modest loss.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index declined 20.3 points or 0.5 percent to 4,405.8 while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 16.7 points or 0.4 percent at 4,417.5.

Trading volume came to 2.81 billion shares valued at A$5.48 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners 557 to 527 with 336 unchanged.

Among the stocks and sectors of interest, retailer Woolworths gained A$0.62 on news the company planned to enter the hardware market after the takeover of hardware wholesaler Danks Holdings. Shares of Danks climbed $5.80 or more than 70 percent on the news. Rival Wesfarmers was down $1.51. Among the other retailers, David Jones declined .12, Harvey Norman was down .09 and JB Hi-Fi was up .28,

In the resources sector, global mining leader BHP Billiton was down .38, rival Rio Into was down .58, Fortescue Metals was down .13 and OZ Minerals was down two cents.

The gold sector was mixed, with Newcrest down .53 and Newmont Mining down .17 while Lihir Gold was up .07.

Energy stocks were also mixed, with Woodside Petroleum down .85, Santos down .23 and Oil Search up .25 after announcing a lower first-half profit on weak prices and lower sales.

The banking sector was mixed, with Australia and NZ Banking Group down a penny, Commonwealth Bank down .30, Westpac lower by .32 and National Australia higher by .30.

Overseas, stocks on Wall Street moved higher on Tuesday in the wake of improving consumer confidence data, increasing hope prices and the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman.

About an hour before the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 39.91 points or 0.42 percent at 9,549.19, the Nasdaq Composite index was up 5.01 points or 0.25 percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was higher by 2.90 points or 0.28 percent at 1,028.47.

Markets in the remainder of the Asia/Pacific region were mixed on Tuesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Average declined 83.69 points or 0.79 percent to close at 10,497.36.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 100.70 points or 0.49 percent to 20,435.24.

China's Shanghai Composite index fell 77.63 points or 2.59 percent to 2,915.80.

In India, the BSE 30 index was up 59.72 points or 0.38 percent at 15,688.47.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was up 4.65 points or 0.20 percent at 2.380.52.

The KOSPI/Seoul Composite index in South Korea was down 10.84 points or 0.67 percent at 1,601.38.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was down 20.84 points or 0.42 percent at 6,809.41.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com