RTTNews - The New Zealand and Australian sharemarkets are poised to open higher on Friday, following Wall Street's broad gains overnight. strong retail sales data and better than expected jobs information sent U.S. stocks higher.

New Zealand's market declined for the first time in three sessions following Thursday's Reserve Bank decision to leave interest rates unchanged.

The benchmark NZX-50 index dropped 31.43 points or 1.11 percent to 2,796.5.

Turnover was 50.1 million shares valued at NZ$93.1 million.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 51 to 33 with 32 closing unchanged.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Thursday left the country's Official Cash Rate unchanged at 2.50 percent, and signaled that the rate would likely remain where it is or move lower, into at least late 2010.

The list of most actively traded stocks includes Auckland International Airport, which was down NZ$0.02, Fletcher Building dropped .14, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was down .03, Guinness Peat fell a penny, Kiwi Income Properties was unchanged, Nuplex was up a penny SkyCity Entertainment Group fell .03 and Telecom Corp of NZ was down .07.

Across the Tasman, a strong performance by the resources sector helped push Australia's sharemarket higher.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 22.8 points or 0.57 percent at 4,047.2 while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 31.0 points or 0.77 percent at 4,047.3.

Both indices hit their highest closing marks since November 2008.

Market turnover was 2.42 billion shares valued at A$5.2 billion.

Advancing issues outpaced decliners 600 to 485 with 332 unchanged.

In the resources sector, global mining leader BHP Billiton rose A$0.57 while rival Rio Tinto gained $4.02 or 5.5 percent. Among the junior miners, Fortescue Metals jumped .76 or more than 21 percent. Panoramic Resources gained .28 or nearly 11 percent and PanAust was unchanged.

OZ Minerals spent the session in a trading halt, as shareholders voted in favor of the sale of most assets to China's Minmetals.

Among the coal stocks, Felix Resources was up .62, Gloucester Coal was down a penny and Macarthur Coal was up .23.

For the gold miners, Newcrest Mining was up .20, Newmont Mining was down .05, Lihir Gold was down .06 and Gindalbie Metals advanced .12 or more than 14 percent.

The major banks were mostly lower, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia down .52, National Australia Bank down .10 and Westpac down .05. Australia and NZ Banking Group gained .06.

In the retail sector, Woolworths was down .37, Wesfarmers gained .11, Harvey Norman was down .02 and David Jones was up .19.

In overseas trading, U.S. stocks rose after encouraging data was released on employment and retail sales. With about a half hour left in the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 87.97 points or 1.10 percent at 8,835.00, the Nasdaq Composite index was up 18.99 points or 1.02 percent at 1,872.07 and the S & P 500 index was up 12.24 points or 1.30 percent at 951.39.

Markets were mixed in the Asia/Pacific region on Thursday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average was down 10.16 points or 0.10 percent at 9.981.33.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 5.37 points or 0.03 percent at 18,791.03.

China's Shanghai Composite index declined 18.93 points or 0.67 percent at 2,797.32.

In India, the BSE 30 index declined 55.34 points or 0.36 percent to 15,411.47.

The Jakarta Composite index in Indonesia was down 19.23 points or 0.91 percent to 2,089.58.

South Korea's KOSPI/Seoul Composite index rose 4.51 points or 0.32 percent to 1,419.39.

The Taiwan Weighted Index advanced 105.10 points or 1.63 percent to 6,567.37.

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