Market Index near five-year high as firm says it will pay investors special dividend.

New Zealand shares edged up to a five-year high as Sky Network Television surprised investors with a special dividend and Tower said it would return capital to shareholders after the sale of its medical insurance business.

The NZX 50 index rose 4.61 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 4016.77, the highest since the start of January 2008. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 18 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $142 million.

Sky TV rose about 3 per cent to $5.22. The company will pay a special dividend of 32c a share with a record date on December 13 to distribute tax credits.

Sky TV's special dividend "came out of the blue somewhat and shareholders will welcome the decision," said Grant Williamson, a director at brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene.


Tower posted a 67 per cent jump in full-year profit and said it would return $120 million to shareholders after the sale of its medical insurance business to Australian insurers nib.

Guinness Peat, the investment company that is winding down its portfolio, rose 0.9 per cent to 59c.

Methven, the tapware maker, rose 5.2 per cent to $1.42 after reporting a 27 per cent drop in first-half profit on its unprofitable British operation.

Pyne Gould Corp fell 15 per cent to 23c, and earlier plumbed a record low 22c, after chairman Bryan Mogridge told shareholders on Wednesday that the company would not pay dividends and the board was "seriously considering the domicile of the company," which was unlikely to be New Zealand.

Argosy Property, whose shareholders agreed to corporatise the company after buying out its ANZ Bank-owned manager last year, rose 0.5 per cent to 93c after lifting first-half earnings 29 per cent.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was the biggest decliner on the NZX 50, falling 3.1 per cent to $2.51 after shedding its 5.4c interim dividend. Vital Healthcare Property Trust dipped 0.8 per cent to $1.26 after shedding its 1.925c interim payment.

Goodman Fielder, the Australasian food manufacturer, rose 6.2 per cent to 86c, the biggest percentage gain on the NZX 50.