Stocks in the United States rose on Thursday after an encouraging report on the labour market and better sales from retail stores.
The federal government said that 367,000 people sought unemployment benefits for the first time last week, an increase from the previous week but fewer than economists had forecast.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.75 points to close at 13,575.36.The Nasdaq Composite is up 13 points or a third of a percent, to 3,146
European shares closed fractionally lower on Thursday.
Chemical company BASF became the latest victim of the European downturn on announcing it would have to cut costs and sell a business due to a decline in demand from southern Europe and Britain. Its shares fell 1.9%.
The Australian 200 Index closed up 14 points at 4452 on Thursday. The NZX50 index was down 8 points to close at 3882.
The New Zeasland dollar on Friday morning was trading at 82.33 US cents, 80.13 Australian cents, 50.82 pence, 64.49 yen and 0.6316 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 73.23.
Brent crude oil was trading at $US110.68 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1792.94 per ounce.