The New Zealand sharemarket rose slightly today after stocks jumped in overseas markets.

The NZX 50 closed up 15.656 points, or 0.498 per cent, at 3160.163. Turnover was worth $72.84 million. There were 51 rises and 23 falls among the 106 stocks traded.

"The Dow finished up overnight over 10,000, which is obviously positive and of course the New Zealand market just followed suit from that," said Stuart Hardie, Craigs Investment Partners investment adviser.

The sharemarket opened strongly, rising to 3174.42 within 15 minutes, after sharemarkets lifted in the United States and Europe as better-than-expected United States jobs data improved investor confidence.

"We are finding that when the overnight markets go up significantly, we go up, but not by quite as much. When the markets drops significantly, we don't drop quite as much as well."

Mr Hardie said there was strong buying demand early on, but it drifted off slowly into the afternoon.

"The New Zealand economy seems like it's just buying time, really. And just sort of tacking along and trying to break the shackles of this recession. The market doesn't really want to jump or be too excited about any real news. We are a little bit cautious still."

Telecom shares gained 4c to 252 after the company reported it lifted first quarter net earnings 9 per cent to $163 million.

But revenue fell, with the profit result due in part to a $43m one-off effect from changes in tax law.

Nuplex went up 14c to 254, with the resins and chemicals maker saying it expects full year profit to rise by as much as 78 per cent.

Fletcher Building shares rose 9c to 795 and Contact Energy gained 3c to 602.

Among other rising shares Port of Tauranga went up 10c to 710, Sky TV gained 8c to 488, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 2c to 320 and Trustpower went up 2c to 750.

Declining stocks included NZ Refining Co down 12c to 505, Pike River Coal 3c to 107, Infratil 3c to 156 and Hellaby 1c to 163.

US stocks rose sharply, after a rise in business productivity and a drop in jobless claims boosted confidence in the economy, while strong results from Cisco bolstered tech stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.1 per cent to end unofficially at 10,005.96, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.9 per cent at 1066.63, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.4 per cent at 2105.32.

- NZPA