Signs of strength in the US labour market and manufacturing sector pushed up stocks on Wall Street, but the mood was fragile as investors keep their eyes on the debt crisis in Europe.
The Dow Jones Index on Thursday was up 82 points, or 0.7%, at 11,905. The Nasdaq Composite was up 9 points to 2548.
In Europe: the FTSE in London rose 0.63%, the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.98% and the CAC-40 in Paris rose 0.76%.
The Australian 200 Index fell 51 points, or 1.2%, to close at 4140 on Thursday. The NZX50 fell 21 points to close at 3263.
At 8.20am on Friday, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 75.43 US cents, 75.90 Australian cents, 48.63 pence, 58.73 yen and 0.5793 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 67.76.
Brent crude oil was trading at $US104.86 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1575 per ounce.