New Zealand shares rose yesterday, led by companies giving upbeat messages to shareholders during the annual meeting season, including NZ Oil & Gas, Freightways and Port of Tauranga.

Europe's efforts to reach agreement on containing its debt crisis have stopped some investors taking big bets, especially as the talks have dragged on this week. Leaders have now announced agreement on a second round of bailout funding for Greece, a step which may prevent contagion.

NZ Oil & Gas jumped 7.7 per cent to 70c a day after chairman Tony Radford told shareholders that the stock price was "ridiculously low", even given the impactof the Pike River Coal failure and lackof big new energy finds.

Freightways gained 3.3 per cent to $3.42 after telling shareholders at the AGM profit rose 19 per cent to a record in the first quarter, outpacing a 9 per cent gain in sales.

"There's quite a few companies finding it pretty tough out there," said Craig Brown, senior investment analyst at One Path New Zealand. Freightways' performance "is an encouraging sign in that regard".


Port of Tauranga rose 1.6 per cent to $9.75. It is rated a "hold" having climbed 29 per cent in the past 12 months.

Chief executive Mark Cairns told shareholders yesterday that first-quarter earnings rose 16 per cent, putting it on track to meet analyst estimates for the full year of $64 million to $67 million, an increase of as much as 16 per cent.

"They are doing all the right things," One Path's Brown said. "They know they are in a very strong position. The sheer volume of what goes across Tauranga is so much bigger than everybody else."

Westpac rose 2.9 per cent to $29.99 and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.3 per cent to $28.65 after National Australia Bank reported a 17 per cent lift in second-half profit yesterday.

Fletcher Building continued to recover from its recent 2-year lows, gaining 2.5 per cent to $6.61. Auckland Airport rose 0.2 per cent to $2.32. Chairman Joan Withers reiterated the company's forecast for 2012 earnings "in the $130 millions", a gain of at least 7.5 per cent.