RTTNews - Lower opens are expected Friday for the New Zealand and Australia sharemarkets, following sharp losses overnight on Wall Street. A worse-than-expected unemployment report sent U.S. stocks tumbling.

After a higher open, New Zealand's market moved lower Thursday in session marked by a general lack of direction.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed with a loss of 12.2 points or 0.4 percent at 2,768.2.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange reported trading volume of 37.8 million shares valued at NZ$106.5 million.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 42 to 29 with 36 unchanged.

Among the session's most heavily traded stocks, Auckland International Airport was down NZ$0.04, AMP New Zealand Office Trust was unchanged, Fletcher Building was up a dime, Fisher & Paykel Appliances was up .02, F & P Healthcare was up .02, Goodman Property Trust was down .03, Kiwi Income Properties was up .02, SkyCity Entertainment was down a nickel, Telecom Corp of NZ was down .05 and Vector was up a penny.

For the Australia-NZ dual-listed stocks, Westpac Bank was down a dime, Telstra was down .02, Lion Nathan was up a penny, Goodman was up .02, Australia and NZ Bank was down .12 and AMP was up .03.

Across the Tasman, Australia's sharemarket similarly opened higher, but gave up nearly all its gains by the close.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Average closed with a gain of 3.3 points or 0.09 percent at 3,877.3 while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.9 points or 0.07 percent at 2,875.2.

Market turnover was 2.09 billion shares valued at A$4.2 billion.

Advancing issues outpaced decliners 546 to 416 with 286 unchanged.

The mining leaders closed higher. Rio Tinto was up A$0.15 after announcing the successful completion of an equity raising of A$18.78 billion. Rival BHP Billiton was up .40, Fortescue Metals was down .02 and OZ Minerals was unchanged.
For the gold miners, Newcrest Mining was up .92, Newmont Mining was up .13 and Lihir Gold added a nickel.

Among the major banks, Australia and NZ Banking Group was down .12, Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell .67, National Australia Bank was up .16 and Westpac Bank was down a dime.

Among the telecom stocks, Telstra gained two cents on heavy trading volume of nearly 60 million shares while Singapore Telecom was up .03.

Overseas, U.S. stocks were headed toward a sharply lower close on the final trading day before the long Independence Day holiday weekend. The Labor Department reported the unemployment rate in America jumped to 9.5 percent in June, its highest level in 26 years. The news sent stocks spiraling downward.

About a half hour before the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 205.94 points or 2.42 percent at 8,298.12, the Nasdaq Composite index was down 48.80 points or 2.64 percent at 1,796.92 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was lower by 24.97 points or 2.70 percent at 898.36.

The major markets in the Asia/Pacific region were mixed on Thursday.

The Nikkei 225 Average in Japan was down 63.78 points or 0.64 percent to finish at 9,876.15.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 200.68 points or 1.09 percent at 18,178.05.

In India, the BSE 30 index was up 13.02 points or 0.09 percent at 14,658.49.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was up 5.87 points or 0.28 percent at 2,065.75.

The KOSPI/Seoul Composite index in South Korea declined 0.18 points or 0.01 percent at 1,411.48.

The Taiwan Weighted Index was up 88.56 points or 1.35 percent at 6,667.53.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com