New Zealand shares rose, pushing the benchmark index to a new record as continued lower interest rates nudged investors to seek better returns from equities. Steel & Tube Holdings and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gained, Comvita and Restaurant Brands fell.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 12.01 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7226.06. Within the index, 17 stocks gained, 31 fell and three were unchanged. Turnover was $108 million.

"Central banks have taken interest rates to infinity and beyond, and it's forcing people into risk assets and people are paying ever more for them," Salt Funds Management managing director Matt Goodson said.

"New Zealand superficially has a very high yield - a number of the key companies are paying out more than 100 per cent of the cash flow they're generating."


Steel & Tube Holdings gained 2.8 per cent to $2.17. The share price has recovered from a 15-year low after a flow of bad news ceased.

"On the back of relatively low volumes this week it's recovered, in my view, closer to fair value, having been hammered after a long period of bad news," said James Bascand, equity analyst at Forsyth Barr. Fisher & Paykel led the index, gaining 3.3 per cent to $10.55.

Investore Property rose 1.8 per cent to $1.67 and Spark New Zealand advanced 1.5 per cent to $3.84. Both had high volumes of trading, with 3.46 million shares traded in Investore and 2.34 million in Spark.

Summerset advanced 1.3 per cent to $4.68, after Deutsche Bank raised its target price for the stock to $5.30 from $4.89 on Thursday, and Ryman Healthcare gained 1.1 per cent to $9.55 after Deutsche Bank also lifted its target price to $9.05 from $8.80.

Restaurant Brands fell 0.7 per cent to $5.41. The fast food brands company's board yesterday reiterated its forecast net profit after tax for the current financial year at $28 to $30 million. The firm's Australian business was making A$100 million in revenue and A$15 million in profit when acquired, but chief executive Russel Creedy said this current year's results will be impacted by the acquisition although it is already earnings accretive.

The dual-listed banks weakened yesterday, having gained this week. Westpac Banking Corp dropped 1.8 per cent to $32.35 and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 1.4 per cent to $26.83.

Comvita was the worst performer, down 4 per cent to $10.60, and Xero fell 1.7 per cent to $19.14.