New Zealand shares traded quietly in a truncated final session before Christmas, rising in light volume.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 31.99 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 8,396.43. Within the S&P/NZX 50 Index, 30 shares gained, 11 fell and 9 were unchanged. Turnover was $46 million. Trading was shortened by four hours today with the market closing at 1pm and settling at 1:30pm.

James Smalley, investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said trading was "as you'd expect - pretty quiet and lacklustre at the moment."

"Everyone has got the weekend and Christmas break on their minds. There is very little open market trading going on," he said.

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Tourism Holdings led the index higher, up 2.7 per cent to $5.65, while Kiwi Property Group was the worst performer, dropping 1.8 per cent to $1.38.

Speaking ahead of the Australian market opening at midday, Smalley said the local index may see volumes rise when the ASX began trading but as there was only an hour of overlap, he didn't expect volumes to increase significantly.

Meridian Energy dipped 0.3 per cent to $2.93. It has agreed to buy Trustpower's Australian hydro-electric generation assets for A$168m, which it says will support an expanding retail business across the Tasman.

Outside the benchmark index, Smiths City Group dropped 1.7 per cent to 58c. It posted a 5 per cent fall in revenue and only just broke even in the first half of the 2018 financial year as economic concerns weighed on consumer appetites. Revenue dropped to $108.6m from $113.9m in the six months to October 31, with profit at just $2,000 compared to $1.5m a year earlier.