RTTNews - The the New Zealand share market opened higher on Friday, following sharp gains made overnight on the Wall Street where U.S. stocks closed higher despite largely mixed economic and earnings news.

The benchmark NZX 50 index was up 6.46 points or 0.23% to 2,807.98 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index added 5.96 points or 0.21% to 2,871.82.

New Zealand's market followed Wall Street's strong lead and posted widespread gains on Thursday. The benchmark NZX-50 index gained 37.4 points or 1.35 percent to 2,801.5. The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 39.6 million shares valued at NZ$110.3 million. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 56 to 21 with 37 unchanged.

Overseas, U.S. stocks showed signs of life in afternoon trading on Thursday after a a lackluster start to the session, and ended the day sharply higher. The major averages all finished in positive territory by solid margins, extending a recent upward move despite largely mixed economic and earnings news.

On the economic front, a report from the Labor Department showed that first time claims for unemployment benefits continued to decrease in the week ended July 11th, with initial jobless claims falling by more than economists had been expecting.

The report showed that jobless claims fell to 522,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 569,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to fall to about 530,000 from the 565,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Some pessimism on the day came after a Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia report showed that the index of manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region fell by more than economists had been expecting.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing an increase in homebuilder confidence in the month of July, with homebuilders seeing an improvement in current sales conditions.

On the earnings front, JP Morgan Chase (JPM) reported second-quarter net income that blew away Wall Street estimates, but Xilinx Inc. (XLNX), Cintas (CTAS), Harley Davidson (HOG), and Marriott International (MAR) offered a mixed bag of results.

The major U.S. averages pulled back off of their best levels of the day heading into the close, but they were able to post considerable gains on the session. The Dow closed up by 95.61 points or 1.1 percent at 8,711.82, the Nasdaq climbed by 22.13 points or 1.2 percent to 1,885.03 and the S&P 500 rose by 8.06 points or 0.9 percent to 940.74.

Crude oil turned to the upside after some early weakness on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday and finished above the $62 a barrel mark. Light sweet crude oil for August settlement finished at $62.05 per barrel, up 51 cents on the session. Earlier, oil had hit as low as $60.29.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US64.83c at 8am on Friday, when compared to US63.90c at 5pm on Thursday. The jump came after ratings agency Fitch changed the outlook on New Zealand's credit rating from stable to negative.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Friday, market leader Telecom gained 1.12%, as second ranked Contact Energy remained unchanged and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, added 0.15%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson dropped 5.77% and Pumpkin Patch declined 1.30%, as jewelry retailer Michael Hill International and Warehouse remained unchanged. Among energy stocks, Vector and TrustPower remained unchanged

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

Among other notable stocks, Infratil, Methven, Steel & Tube Holdings and Sky Network Television remained unchanged, as Mainfreight collected 0.49%, Nuplex lost 2.37% and Sky City fell 0.75%. Fisher & Paykel Appliances surged 4.48%, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare remained unchanged.

The major losers in the day's early trading included-- Air New Zealand by 1.10%, Guinness Peat Group by 5.05%, Property For Industry Limited by 0.83%, Ryman Healthcare by 0.64% and Tower by 0.58%.

The early gainers on Friday included-- Cavalier by 4.86%, Freightways by 0.35%, Goodman Property Trust by 1.09%, ING Property Trust by 1.52%, NZ Farming Systems by 2.13% and Rakon by 0.69%.

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