RTTNews - Mixed opens are forecast again for the New Zealand and Australia markets, on the heels of a lack luster trading session on Wall Street. U.S. stocks were modestly higher moving toward the close.

New Zealand shares gave up ground on Thursday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed down 27.9 points or 0.9 percent at 3,053.1.

The NZ Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 46.7 million shares worth NZ$95.5 million.

There were 26 stocks closing higher, 57 were lower and 35 unchanged.

On the earnings front, Mainfreight was up .11 after reporting a 51 percent quarterly profit increase.

Port of Tauranga was down .05 after reporting a 7.4 percent increase in earnings and an increased dividend.

The list of the session's most actively traded stocks includes Auckland International Airport, which was up NZ$0.02, AMP New Zealand Office Trust was unchanged, Fletcher Building was down .06, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down a penny, F & P Healthcare was down .09, Goodman Property Trust was up .02, Kiwi Income Property Trust was unchanged, SkyCity Entertainment Group was down .12 and Telecom Corp of NZ was down three cents.

Among the Australia-New Zealand dual-listed stocks, Australia and NZ Banking Group was down .18, AMP was up .17, Telstra was unchanged and Westpac Bank was down .23.

Across the Tasman, Australia's market posted a modest gain.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index advanced 3.7 points or 0.08 percent to 4,377.5 while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 3.8 points or 0.1 percent at 4,391.3.

Trading volume was 2.6 billion shares worth A$5.6 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners 560 to 514 with 322 unchanged.

The energy sector was the market's main driver. In that sector, Woodside Petroleum jumped A$3.25 or more than 7 percent, Oil Search was up .14, Santos was down .06 on a first half earnings decline, and Roc Oil was up two cents.

In earnings news, shares of AMP advanced .17 after an earnings report that beat expectations.

QBE shares were up $1.32 or more than 6 percent after the firm increased first half earnings by 19 percent.

Shares of the ASX declined .88 after the Exchange reported a lower annual profit.

In the gold sector, Newcrest Mining was up .27, Sino Gold was up .11 and Lihir Gold was down two cents.

Among the diversified miners, Rio Tinto, which reported an earnings decline after the market close was down .17 while BHP Billiton was up .42.

For the major banks, Australia and NZ Banking Group was down .18, Commonwealth Bank was up .04, National Australia was up .05 and Westpac Bank was down .23.

U.S. stocks moved modestly higher in a low-volume trading session on Wall Street Thursday. About an hour before the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 47.23 points or 0.51 percent at 9,326.39, the Nasdaq Composite index was ahead by 15.76 points or 0.80 percent at 1.985.00 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 8.84 points or 0.89 percent at 1.005.30.

Most of the other major markets in the Asia/Pacific region posted higher closes on Thursday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average was up 179.41 points or 1.76 percent at 10,383.41.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 374.63 points or 1.88 percent to 30,328.86.

China's Shanghai Composite index advanced 126.00 points or 4.52 percent to 2,911.58.

The BSE 30 index in India was up 202.68 points or 1.37 percent to 15,012.32.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was up 50.89 points or 2.23 percent to 2,328.64.

In South Korea, the KOSPI/Seoul Composite index was up 30.43 points or 1.97 percent at 1,576.39.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was down 55.35 points or 0.02 points at 6,733.23.

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