New Zealand's stock market opened moderately higher on Thursday, following a modestly upbeat session on Wall Street where U.S. stocks closed higher on preliminary results of bank stress tests and positive economic data.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 15.45 points or 0.55% to 2,846.81 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital Index added 9.80 points or 0.34% to 2,894.47.

New Zealand's share market closed slightly higher on Wednesday, its third straight positive close and the 7th in the last 8 sessions. The benchmark NZX-50 index was up 12.31 points or 0.44 percent to close at 2,831.36. Turnover was worth $94 million and advancers outnumbered decliners by 44 to 30.

Overseas, U.S. stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, as traders reacted positively to some much better than expected economic data as well as reports suggesting that several of the financial companies examined by the government don't need additional capital.

Some initial strength was generated by the release of a report from payroll giant Automatic Data Processing (ADP) showing a much smaller than expected decrease in private sector employment in the month of April.

The markets also benefited from media reports saying that the government stress tests of the nation's leading financial firms have determined that JP Morgan (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), American Express (AXP), and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) will not need additional capital.

While the Nasdaq under performed the Dow and the S&P 500 by a wide margin, the major averages all closed firmly positive. The Dow closed up 101.63 points or 1.2 percent at 8,512.28, the Nasdaq closed up 4.98 points or 0.3 percent at 1,759.10 and the S&P 500 closed up 15.73 points or 1.7 percent at 919.53.

Crude oil finished at its highest level in nearly sixth months on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday as a Department of Energy report revealed inventories rose less than expected. Better-than-expected employment data also boosted the prospects for struggling energy demand.

Light sweet crude oil for June settlement ended at $56.34 per barrel, up $2.50 on the session, marking the highest closing price for a front-month contract since mid-November. Oil reached as high as $56.47 earlier in the session.

Energy Information Administration data showed U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 600,000 barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a build of about 2.2 million barrels. At 375.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at their highest level in nearly two decades.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US58.46c by 8am on Thursday, compared to US57.75c at 5pm on Wednesday.

In the economic news for Thursday, Statistics New Zealand releases its data on unemployment rate for the first quarter at 22:45 GMT.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Thursday, market leader Telecom slipped 1.77%, as second ranked Contact Energy added 1.65% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, eased 0.15%.

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

In the energy sector, Vector remained unchanged, as TrustPower lost 0.68% in the early trading on Thursday morning.

Among the dual listed issues, AMP surged 1.43% and Lion Nathan collected 0.07%, as Australia and NZ Banking Corp, APN News & Media, Telstra and Westpac Bank remained unchanged.

Among other notable stocks, Infratil advanced 1.87%, Mainfreight surged 2.11% and Nuplex jumped 2.70%, as Methven remained unchanged. Sky Network Television collected 1.16% and Sky City added 1.08%, as Steel & Tube Holdings slipped 0.34%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances surged 6.56%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare eased 0.32%.

The other losers on Thursday morning were few and included- Ebos Group by 1.00%, Kiwi Income Property Trust by 1.08%, Rakon Limited by 2.52% and Skellerup Holdings.

The major gainers in the day's early trading were- Auckland International Airport by 1.16%, Air New Zealand by 1.94%, AMP NZ Office Trust by 1.20%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.22%, Guinness Peat Group by 2.63%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 2.08%, NZX Limited by 1.96%, PGG Wrightson by 2.70%, Pike River Coal by 5.88% and Ryman Healthcare by 3.23%.

For comments and feedback: contact