New Zealand stock market opened stronger on Wednesday, following a positive overnight lead from the Wall Street where U.S. stocks closed higher as traders there traders used the weakness in the two previous sessions as a buying opportunity.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 13.04 points or 0.50% to 2,603.44 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index added 25.66 points or 0.97% to 2,661.03.

The New Zealand share market had closed lower on Tuesday, with the benchmark NZX 50 index ending the financial quarter down 51.6 points or 1.95% to 2590.4. Turnover totaled $112.4 million.

Overseas, U.S. stocks moved higher throughout much of the trading session on Tuesday, although the major averages gave back some ground going into the close. Weak economic data helped to limit the upside for the markets, with a report from Standard and Poor's showing that home prices fell at a record annual rate in January.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago said its index of activity in the Chicago-area manufacturing sector fell to 31.4 in March from 34.2 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index edged up to 26.0 in March from a record low reading of 25.3 in February, although economists had been expecting a somewhat more significant increase by the index to a reading of 28.0.

The major U.S. averages pulled back well off their highs for the session in late day trading but managed to remain firmly positive. The Dow closed up 86.90 points or 1.2 percent at 7,608.92, the Nasdaq closed up 26.79 points or 1.8 percent at 1,528.59 and the S&P 500 closed up 10.34 points or 1.3 percent at 797.87.

Crude oil turned higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday amid choppy trading as traders looked ahead to the weekly inventory data from the Energy Information Administration.

Light sweet crude for May delivery ended at $49.66, up $1.05 for the session. After falling as low as $47.77, oil briefly touched $50 in afternoon trading.

Traders also looked forward to the release of the inventory data at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. Last week's report showed crude oil inventories increased 3.3 million barrels in the week ended March 20.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US57.03c by 8 am on Wednesday, after bouncing between US56.70c and US57.30c during the night.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Wednesday, market leader Telecom added 0.88%, as second ranked Contact Energy eased 0.35% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, surged 3.33%.

In the retail sector Hallenstein Glasson added 0.47%, as jewelry retailer Michael Hill International jumped 6.67%, Pumpkin Patch climbed 5.83% and Warehouse gave up 1.68%.

In the energy sector Vector and TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Wednesday.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP gained 2.65%, Australia and NZ Banking Corp surged 2.36%, Telstra collected 0.26% and Westpac Bank added 0.68%, as APN News & Media and Lion Nathan remained unchanged.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil fell 0.68%, Mainfreight gave up 0.72%, Nuplex dropped 2.67% and Sky City eased 0.36%, as Methven, Sky Network Television and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare dropped 1.27%, as Fisher & Paykel Appliances slumped 6.12%.

Other major gainers in the day's early trading included- Ebos Group by 0.22%, Sanford Limited by 0.88%, Skellerup Holdings Limited by 10.17%, Tourism Holdings Limited by 4.76 and Tower Limited by 1.55%.

Major losers on Wednesday morning were- Air New Zealand by 1.11%, AMP NZ Office Trust by 4.44%, Goodman Property Trust by 2.50%, Guinness Peat Group by 3.95%, ING Property Trust by 1.69%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 0.74%, The New Zealand Refining Company by 1.43%, PGG Wrightson Limited by 0.97%, Port of Tauranga by 0.97% and Ryman Healthcare by 0.71%.

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