The New Zealand market is trading slightly higher on Monday, after slipping into negative territory in early trading.

In mid-morning trades, the benchmark NZX 50 Index is gaining 3.47 points or 0.13% to 2,714.74 and the broader NZX All Capital Index is adding 2.92 points or 0.11% to 2,760.79.

U.S. stocks ended Friday's trading modestly higher after a relatively lackluster session. Investors were encouraged by better-than-expected results from General Electric and Citigroup and the best reading on consumer sentiment since September 2008.

Oil rose above US$50 per barrel on Friday as strong earnings news boosted the prospects of energy demand. However, crude gave back most of its daily gains as traders continued to mull another sharp rise in weekly inventories. Light sweet crude for May delivery ended at US$50.33 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up US$0.35 on the session.

The New Zealand market rose to a two-month high on Friday, as investors were buoyed by global economic data and corporate earnings that may herald an easing in the worldwide economic slowdown. The NZX 50 climbed 48.13 points, or 1.8%, to close at 2,711.26, for the fifth straight daily gain.

In the currency market, the New Zealand dollar was trading lower on Monday against the U.S. dollar as risk-averse investors sold off high-yielding currencies. In early trades, the kiwi was buying US$0.5711 compared to US$0.5755 at close on Friday.

In Monday's trading, top stock Telecom is declining 0.79% and Fletcher Building is easing 0.15%, while Contact Energy is adding 0.17%.

In the retail sector, jeweler Michael Hill is advancing 1.75%, while the Warehouse Group is easing 0.56%. The Warehouse said in its first-half report on Friday that the outlook for retailing will remain challenging so long as consumer confidence remains weak and unemployment rises. The company also said that its adjusted net profit for the current year will be similar to last year. Meanwhile, Hallenstein Glasson and Pumpkin Patch are unchanged.

Among other stocks, Nuplex is rising 10.81%, while Sky City and Steel & Tube are unchanged. Tower is gaining 2.29%, Rakon is soaring 10.45% and Goodman Fielder is rising 3.45%.

In the energy space, TrustPower is adding 0.56% and Vector is up 0.44%.

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