NZ shares rose, pushing the NZX 50 Index to a three-week high as gains in offshore equity markets helped sentiment in the domestic exchange. Fletcher Building, Air New Zealand and Spark New Zealand led the advance.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index advanced 16.37 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6899.61. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 16 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $113.5 million.

Equity markets rose across much of Asia, although volumes are reduced by the absence of US participants, with the US celebrating its Thanksgiving Day holiday. Fletcher Building, which stands to benefit from the growing list of damaged buildings following the Kaikoura earthquake, rose about 2 per cent to $10.82. Air NZ, which benefits from a weaker dollar making New Zealand a cheaper-looking destination, rose 1.8 per cent to $2.035 and Spark gained 1.7 per cent to $3.54.

"Offshore markets continue to show improvement and that has settled local investors' nerves," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "There's not the same foreign selling in our market that we had seen in the last couple of months."


Of companies making corporate announcements yesterday, Warehouse Group ended the day unchanged at $2.90 after telling shareholders at their annual meeting in Auckland that an impairment of goodwill in its financial services business is "highly likely" after a weaker-than-expected first quarter trading in the new division. Warehouse stock has fallen 8.5 per cent in the past five years, while the NZX 50 has soared 115 per cent. "Warehouse has continued to disappoint investors somewhat for quite some time," Williamson said.

Turners fell 0.9 per cent to $3.52 after the financial services firm posted a 15 per cent gain in first-half profit and said all its businesses were expected to lift earnings in the full year. The stock has gained 18 per cent this year.

"Turners had a nice run-up ahead of this and the result was a little bit better than guidance," Williamson said. "It is a very progressive company, growing at a pretty fast rate. The price has come off the boil now the news is out there."

Hellaby Holdings rose 1.5 per cent to $3.29 after its biggest shareholder, the Hugh Green Trust-owned Castle Investments, said an offer at $3.30 a share from Australia's Bapcor was "compelling".

Abano Healthcare was unchanged at $8.41 after Anya and Peter Hutson and James Reeve of Healthcare Partners put up a new partial takeover offer, resetting the clock for a deal, amending the offer price wording to allow for an Abano dividend, and removing material that Abano had objected to. BusinessDesk