New Zealand shares rose to a fresh record with New Zealand Refining Co and Fonterra Shareholders Fund gaining after the latter maintained its milk payout forecast.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 8.5 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7356.63. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, 17 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $172.3 million, a strong figure for a Monday.

Rickey Ward, New Zealand equity manager at JBWere, said the market had seen 6.5 per cent growth in July and investors were positive ahead of this month's earnings season.

"There feels a bit more of a positive tone on the market despite having an unbelievable month last month," Ward said. "It's the second highest monthly return this year, around the eighth since 2001 and the fourth-best returning month since the global financial crisis. The expectations are for a pretty healthy single-digit earnings per share growth, we haven't really seen revenue growth come through to any material level yet."


New Zealand Refining Co led the index, up 2.9 per cent to $2.52. Comvita gained 2.4 per cent to $11.55 and Skellerup Holdings advanced 2.3 per cent to $1.31. Fonterra Shareholders Fund gained 1.8 per cent to $5.79. The co-operative group kept its forecast farmgate milk price unchanged at $4.25 per kilogram of milk solids and said it expects earnings per share of 50c to 60c for the year ending July 2017. The forecast milk price for 2016/17 means the total payout available to farmers will be $4.75 to $4.85, still below the break-even mark for many farmers.

Mainfreight gained 0.8 per cent to $17.39, having advanced 0.9 per cent on Friday following its annual meeting. Steel & Tube was down 1.4 per cent to $2.07. Fletcher Building dropped 1.3 per cent to $9.56 and Stride Property fell 1 per cent to $2.

Precinct Properties was unchanged at $1.255.

Outside the local index, Fairfax Media shares fell A2c on the ASX to A$1.03. Fairfax Media, which is currently in talks to merge its New Zealand business with NZME, has written down the value of its NZ assets by A$95.3 million.

Re-stated historical results show its NZ division saw revenues fall to A$166 million from A$179.5 million in the first half of 2016. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 11.7 per cent to A$27.6 million from A$31.3 million. Only Fairfax's radio and real estate division saw increased revenues and sales.