Key Points:

The New Zealand sharemarket was up about a third of a per cent in early trade, as investors continued to show cautious enthusiasm for the US government's bailout of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

With its limited offering of financial listings, the stock exchange in this country has shown less excitement about the bailout than many overseas bourses.

Around 10.15am the benchmark NZSX-50 index was up 12.63 points to 3387.03, on top of a 38.2-point, or 1.1 per cent, rise yesterday.

In contrast, in the US the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 2.6 per cent, the Australian S&P/ASX200 rose 3.9 per cent, in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 index surged 3.4 per cent, while in London, the FTSE 100 index jumped 3.9 per cent.

In this country today, Fletcher Building was helping pull the market ahead, rising 14c early to 783.

Contact Energy also moved ahead, up 4c to 875, on top of yesterday's 35c gain which came after US energy giant ConocoPhillips agreed to pay up to A$9.6 billion ($12b) for a 50 per cent stake in a joint venture project with Contact's parent Origin Energy.

Top stock Telecom slipped 1c early today to 314 after ending unchanged yesterday on the rising market.

Other early risers today included Infratil, up 3c to 220, and Michael Hill International, also up 3c, to 83.

Stocks rising 2c early included Fisher & Paykel Appliances, to 180, F&P Healthcare to 320, Freightways to 347, and Sanford to 612.

Stocks falling early included NZ Refining Co, down 15c to 680, NZ Oil & Gas down 2c to 155, and Steel & Tube down 3c to 370.

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In the US, stocks surged as investors bet Washington's bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would stabilise the US housing sector and calm jittery world financial markets.

Investors poured into stocks worldwide, especially bank shares, after the US Treasury seized control of the two companies in what could become one of Washington's biggest bailouts ever.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 2.59 per cent at 11,510.49. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index finished up 2.05 per cent at 1267.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.62 per cent at 2269.76.

- NZPA