New Zealand shares rose yesterday, paced by Fletcher Building and Cavalier after figures showed property values and home sales jumped last month.

The NZX 50 index rose 1.82 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3583.61. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 15 fell and 8 were unchanged. Turnover was $134 million.

The NZX 50 is near a three-month high ahead of earnings season. Listed companies will lift normalised profit by a median 7 per cent, based on Forsyth Barr's forecasts for 43 companies that it follows. Sales are expected to rise by 3.8 per cent.

"Investors are still to a certain degree sitting on their hands waiting for results," said James Smalley, of Hamilton Hindin Greene. "Everyone has a fair idea of what the results will be but people are looking for the make-up of earnings and the comments from directors."


Fletcher Building rose 0.8 per cent to $6.48. The stock has gained 3.3 per cent this year. The company is due to report its full year results on August 22 and expected to show an 18 per cent increase in sales and a 0.7 per cent rise in earnings before interest depreciation amortisation to $806 million, according to Forsyth Barr.

Home sales jumped 20 per cent last month, according to Real Estate Institute figures. Property values rose 2.2 per cent in the three months ended July 31, according to QV. Gainers on the NZX 50 were led by Cavalier, up 1.9 per cent $1.61.

Heartland New Zealand rose 1.9 per cent to 55c.

Mainfreight was unchanged on $9.20. It posted a 15 per cent decline in first-quarter profit to $12.4 million in the three months ended June 30, as ailing European economies offset strong growth in sales in the rest of the world.

"The one big thing in the domestic market was the Mainfreight result," Smalley said.

"Investors have read between the lines and seen that other sides of the business are doing well - the stock is looking cheap."

The decline was led by Contact Energy, down 4 per cent to $4.80.

Vector dropped 2.1 per cent to $2.74.

Xero fell 1.9 per cent to $5.20.

Shares of Telstra fell 1.6 per cent to $5.12 after Australia's biggest phone company posted a 5.4 per cent gain in net profit to A$3.4 billion as sales edged up 1 per cent to A$25.2 billion.

Shares in Horizon Energy Distribution were unchanged at $3.40 after the company announced it had bought Hastie New Zealand, Aquaheat Industries and Professional Building Services for $5.25 million.