RTTNews - Mixed to higher opens are expected Thursday for the New Zealand and Australia sharemarkets on Thursday. Trading opens in the wake of overnight advances on Wall Street.

The New Zealand and Australia markets were the only ones in the Asia/Pacific region to post gains on Wednesday.

In New Zealand, the market finished higher, but well off its best levels of the session.

The benchmark NZX-50 index gained 9.5 points or 0.3 percent to close at 3.081.0, having earlier risen to around 3,094.

Trading volume was reported by the NZ Stock Exchange at 266.1 million shares, valued at NZ$269.7 million.

Advancing issues outpaced decliners 54 to 24, with 33 closing unchanged.

Among the session's most heavily traded stocks, Auckland International Airport was unchanged, AMP NZ Office Trust was up NZ$0.01, Fletcher Building was unchanged, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was up a penny, F & P Healthcare was up .07, Freightways was up .04, Goodman Property Trust was down .06, Kiwi Income Property Trust was down a penny, SkyCity Entertainment Group was up a dime and Telecom Corp of NZ was up one cent.

Among the dual-listed stocks, Telstra was unchanged, Westpac Bank was down .20, AMP was up .03 and Australia and NZ Bank was down .57.

Across the Tasman, the Australia market posted mixed results.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index was down 7.8 points or 0.2 percent at 4,373.8 while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 1.6 points or 0.04 percent at 4,387.5.

Trading volume was 2.73 billion shares valued at A$5.72 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 671 to 427, with 296 unchanged.

In the resources sector, BHP Billiton declined A$0.55, rival Rio Tinto was up $1.30, Fortescue Metals was up a dime, OZ Minerals was up two cents and Panoramic Resources was up seven cents.

Among the major banks, Australia and NZ Banking Group was down .57, Commonwealth Bank of Australia declined .36, National Australia Bank dropped .26, Westpac was down .20 and Macquarie Group was down $1.13.

The retail sector was mixed, with Woolworths down .05, Wesfarmers was up .08, JB Hi-Fi was up .64, Harvey Norman rose .07 and David Jones was up .11.

As for the gold miners, Lihir Gold was down .08 and Newcrest Mining was down .76.

Overseas, U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, buoyed by rising energy prices.

About 20 minutes before the closing bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 45.50 points or 0.49 percent at 9,263.44, the Nasdaq Composite index was up 8.46 points or 0.39 percent at 1,964.38 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 4.66 points or 0.45 percent at 994.14.

All of the other major market indices in the Asia/Pacific region closed lower on Wednesday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Average declined 80.96 points or 0.79 percent to finish at 10,204.00.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 352.04 points or 1.73 percent at 19,954.23.

In China, the Shanghai Composite index was down 125.30 points or 4.30 percent at 2,785.58.

The BSE 30 index in India dropped 225.62 points or 1.50 percent to 14,809.64.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was down 59.24 points or 2.53 percent at 2.277.75.

The KOSPI/Seoul Composite index in South Korea declined 4.28 points or 0.28 percent to 1,545.96.

The Taiwan Weighted Index dropped 1.19 points or 0.02 percent to 6.788.58.

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