RTTNews - The New Zealand stock markets opened modestly higher on Friday, following a positive overnight lead from Wall Street, where American stocks closed moderately higher after a late-session reversal sent U.S. markets toward a higher finish.

The benchmark NZX 50 index rose by 13.23 points or 0.43% to 3,089.65 shortly after the market opened for the day, while the broader NZX All Capital index added 13.50 points or 0.43% to 3,134.15.

New Zealand's market moved modestly lower on Thursday. The benchmark NZX-50 index declined 14.5 points or 0.5 percent at 3,076.4. Trading volume was reported by the NZ Stock Exchange at 44.5 million shares valued at NZ$107.2 million. There were 39 stocks closing higher, 52 were lower and 29 were unchanged.

Overseas, U.S. stocks staged a steady recovery and finished with modest gains on Thursday, following an initial retreat on the heels of relatively uneventful economic reports. The major U.S. averages all closed in positive territory, but the upside was limited by another low volume session.

Earlier, traders in the U.S. focused on a fresh batch of economic reports, with the Commerce Department revealing that second quarter GDP decreased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the second quarter, unchanged from the 1.0 percent decrease initially reported. Economists had been expecting GDP to be revised to show a decrease of 1.5 percent.

The Commerce Department said upward revisions to exports, residential fixed investment, consumer spending, and government spending were offset by downward revisions to private inventory investment and nonresidential fixed investment.

Separately, the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits edged down last week, according to a report released by the Labor Department, although jobless claims remain at a relatively high level.

The report showed that jobless claims edged down to 570,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 580,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 565,000 from the 576,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Continuing claims, which measure the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, fell to 6.133 million for the week ended August 15, the most recent week for which the government has data.

A variety of sectors turned higher after moving lower earlier in the session, contributing to the recovery by the broader markets. Nonetheless, stocks were unable to sustain the upward move amid some uncertainty about the economic outlook.

The major U.S. averages moved off of their highs in late session dealing, but they were able to hold onto modest gains. The Dow advanced by 37.11 points or 0.4 percent to 9,580.63, the Nasdaq gained 3.30 points or 0.2 percent to close at 2,027.73 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.86 points or 0.3 percent to 1,030.98.

After showing a notable decline in early trading, the price of oil showed a substantial turnaround over the course of the trading day on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday. A downturn in the value of the U.S. dollar contributed to the rebound by the price of oil.

Crude for October delivery ended the session up $1.06 at $72.49 a barrel after falling as low as $69.83 earlier in the trading day. Nonetheless, oil prices remained well off the ten-month highs set earlier this week.

On the currency front, the New Zealand dollar was buying US68.83c by 8 am on Friday, after bouncing between the US69 and US67.85c during the night.

In the economic calender for Friday, Business New Zealand releases its report on the number of new building projects authorized for construction New Zealand for the month of July at 22:45 PM GMT on Thursday. Also, Reserve Bank of New Zealand releases its data on the measure of the New Zealand 's money supply for July at 03:00 AM GMT on Friday.

In the early trading on the New Zealand stock market on Friday, market leader Telecom surged 1.85%, as second ranked Contact Energy dropped 1.10% and Fletcher Building, the third best stock, advanced 0.13%.

In the retail sector, Hallenstein Glasson and Pumpkin Patch remained unchanged, as jewelry retailer Michael Hill International climbed 1.45% and Warehouse collected 1.25%. TrustPower and Vector, the two energy stocks, remained unchanged in the early trading.

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

Among other notable stocks, Methven and Steel & Tube Holdings remained unchanged, as Infratil gained 0.58%, Mainfreight dropped 0.76%, Nuplex surged 6.38%, Sky City added 0.30% and Sky Network Television collected 0.69%. While Fisher & Paykel Appliances dropped 1.25%, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare posted a gain of 0.91%.

The major gainers in the day's early trading included-- Auckland International Airport by 2.29%, Air New Zealand by 1.63%, Freightways by 0.65%, New Zealand Oil & Gas by 0.63%, NZ Farming Systems by 2.50%, NZX Limited by 1.83%, Pike River Coal by 1.98% and Rakon by 1.45%.

The early losers on Friday included-- AMP NZ Office Trust by 2.41%, Cavalier by 0.40%, New Zealand Refining Company by 1.69%, Ebos by 0.68%, PGG Wrightson by 5.06%, Port of Tauranga by 1.52% and Restaurant Brands NZ by 0.95%.

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