New Zealand shares rose for the first time this year after a five-day slide that attracted bargain hunters in a market with little local corporate news to drive prices.

At 11.15am, the S&P/NZX 50 Index was up 24.91 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6127.74, from yesterday's close of 6,102.82. Turnover was about $21.3 million.

The index had fallen 3.5 per cent so far this year at yesterday's close, declining every day after reaching an all-time high on December 31. The losses have been attributed to global nervousness, triggered by increasing Chinese economic contraction which saw trading halted in Shanghai after markets hit a 7 per cent decline on two separate occasions, and weak oil prices. Wall St tumbled, hitting a three-month low on December 6, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index has seen its worst ever start to the year.

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Wall Street closed on a slightly positive note yesterday after a volatile trading session. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent, the Dow Jones Index advanced 0.3 per cent and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.1 per cent.


The rise in the local market is "a bit of bargain hunting after a miserable start to the year," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. The lack of local news has kept investors focused on overseas markets, he said.

"You're still seeing low volumes here," Williamson said. "Wall Street has seen a little bit of a bounce, but investors will be waiting to see what happens when markets in China and Australia open this afternoon."

Yesterday's biggest positive mover, Warehouse Group, gained 5 per cent after announcing its predicted first-half profit would be a 20 per cent improvement on a year earlier. Other companies will need to announce earnings increases over the next month, during reporting season, for the local market to hit the highs it did at the end of last year, Williamson said.