New Zealand's stock market opened moderately higher on Friday, following an overnight upswing on Wall Street where U.S. stocks closed higher on some encouraging corporate news and better-than-expected economic news.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 6.25 points or 0.23% to 2,669.39 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index added 5.76 points or 0.21% to 2,718.74.

New Zealand stocks moved broadly higher on Thursday. The benchmark NZX-50 index gained 62.49 points or 2.4 percent to close at 2,663.14.

The New Zealand Exchange reported trading volume of 48.1 million shares valued at NZ$121.8 million. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 56 to 17.

Overseas, U.S. stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading session on Thursday, with the major averages closing firmly in positive territory after seeing some earlier uncertainty. As was the case in the previous session, a late day rally contributed to the higher close.

The major U.S. averages moved off their best levels of the day going into the close but still ended the day sharply higher. The Dow closed up 95.81 points or 1.2 percent at 8,125.43, the Nasdaq closed up 43.64 points or 2.7 percent at 1,670.44 and the S&P 500 closed up 13.24 points or 1.6 percent at 865.30.

Crude oil prices finished another choppy session higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday. However, oil continued to fail to hold above $50 per barrel. Light sweet crude for May delivery ended at $49.98, up 73 cents for the session. Oil touched as high as $50.48 but later fell as low as $49.11.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US57.11c by 8am on Friday, after slipping to US56.80c during the night. This can be compared to US57.55c at 5pm on Thursday.

In the economic news for Friday, Statistics New Zealand releases the Consumer Price Index for March 2009 quarter and the Food Price Index for March 2009 at 22:45pm GMT.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Friday, market leader Telecom added 1.22%, as second ranked Contact Energy gained 0.18% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, dropped 1.19%.

In the retail sector Hallenstein Glasson jumped 2.83%, jewelry retailer Michael Hill International collected 1.85%, Pumpkin Patch gained 0.88% and Warehouse added 0.87%.

In the energy sector Vector was up 0.45%, as TrustPower remained unchanged in the early trading on Friday.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP added 1.03%, as Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Lion Nathan, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil added 1.33%, Mainfreight surged 3.49%, Methven climbed 2.68%, Nuplex jumped 5.71%, Sky City slipped 0.67% and Steel & Tube Holdings eased 0.76%, as Sky Network Television remained unchanged. Fisher & Paykel Appliances collected 4.35%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare remained unchanged.

Other major gainers in the day's early trading included- Air New Zealand by 0.98%, Guinness Peat Group by 1.47%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 2.22% and Rakon by 1.57%.

Major losers on Friday morning were - Auckland International Airport by 0.59%, Goodman Fielder by 0.72%, PGG Wrightson by 0.81% and Tourism Holdings Limited by 2.04%.

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