RTTNews - New Zealand share market opened higher on Friday, following a positive overnight lead from the Wall Street where U.S. stocks closed higher on bargain hunting after recent market losses and on strength among the financial stocks.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 28.58 points or 1.03% to 2,804.70 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index added 8.87 points or 0.31% to 2,843.18.

The New Zealand market finished lower on Thursday in reaction to the sell-off on Wall Street overnight. The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 35.4 points or 1.26 percent at 2,776.12. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 59.6 million shares valued at NZ$148.3 million, with decliners outnumbering advancers by 67 to 23.

Overseas, U.S. stocks regained some ground during trading on Thursday after seeing substantial weakness in the previous session. The major averages all ended the day firmly in positive territory, as traders picked up stocks at reduced levels.

The strength in the markets came as traders went bargain hunting following some recent weakness, shrugging off a report from the Labor Department showing a bigger than expected increase in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended May 9th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to 637,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 605,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge up to 610,000 from the 601,000 originally reported for the previous month.

In other economic news, producer prices increased by a little more than expected in the month of April, according to a separate report released by the Labor Department, with the increase in prices partly due to a rebound in food prices.

Additionally, President Barack Obama called on Congress to move swiftly to enact stronger regulations of the credit card industry in a town-hall style meeting in New Mexico.

The House has already passed a measure commonly called the Credit Card Holders' Bill of Rights and the Senate is debating and amending its own version of the measure this week. Proponents hope the Senate will be able to vote on the bill this week.

While the major averages moved off their highs going into the close, they remained firmly positive. The Dow closed up 46.43 points or 0.6 percent at 8,331.32, the Nasdaq closed up 25.02 points or 1.5 percent at 1,689.21 and the S&P 500 closed up 9.15 points or 1 percent at 893.07.

Crude oil prices turned modestly higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday even after the International Energy Agency said that oil demand remains very weak. The dollar came under pressure in afternoon dealing, boosting crude prices.

Light sweet crude for June finished at $58.62 per barrel, up 60 cents on the day. Prices had dropped as low as $56.55 early in the morning.

The International Energy Agency reduced its forecast for oil consumption by estimate to 230,000 barrels a day to 83.2 million. Earlier this week, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Energy Department lowered their outlooks.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US59.73c by 8am on Friday, compared to US59.16c at 5pm on Thursday.

In the economic news for Friday, Statistics New Zealand releases its report on Retail Sales and Retail Sales Ex-Auto for the month of March at 22:45 PM GMT.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Friday, market leader Telecom remained unchanged, as second ranked Contact Energy gained 1.00% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, surged 2.13%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International, Pumpkin Patch and Warehouse remained unchanged.

In the energy sector, Vector collected 0.93%, while TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Friday.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP, Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil, Methven, Nuplex and Sky City remained unchanged, as Mainfreight advanced 0.21%, Sky Network Television collected 1.85% and Steel & Tube Holdings added 1.69%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances jumped 3.33%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare remained unchanged.

Other gainers in the day's early trading included- Auckland International Airport by 2.37%, Goodman Property Trust by 3.66%, Guinness Peat Group by 6.67%, ING Property Trust by 1.79%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.08% and Ryman Healthcare by 0.62%.

Early losers among stocks listed under the NZX 50 index were few on Friday morning, and included- Freightways by 0.68%, New Zealand Oil & Gas Limited by 0.67%, Rakon Limited by 0.64% and Tower Limited by 1.26%.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com