New Zealand shares gained, led by Air New Zealand and Fletcher Building, with Z Energy and CBL dropping.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 31.42 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 8,415.29. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 17 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $168 million.

Air New Zealand led the index, up 2.6 per cent to $3.13. This week the airline posted December operating figures, showing gains in passengers and revenue passenger kilometres.

"It has continued its recent strong bounce back, no new news but its operating stats the other day were solid enough," said Matt Goodson, managing director at Salt Funds Management. "The key headwind for them at the moment is rising fuel prices, but they do have a degree of hedging in the short term.

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"Ultimately it's a bit of a double-edged sword, competitors who are perhaps struggling on the skinny long-haul routes into New Zealand may be less inclined to put new capacity on when prices are high. Plus the New Zealand dollar has been strong of late, and Air NZ is a key beneficiary of that."

Fletcher Building rose 2.1 per cent to $7.96, Mainfreight gained 1.5 per cent to $26.40, and Tourism Holdings jumped 1.4 per cent to $5.84.

Z Energy was the worst performer, down 2.1 per cent to $7.41, weakening off throughout the day following a significant line of stock changing hands at $7.45 before the market opened.

Infratil dropped 1.4 per cent to $3.17 and Metro Performance Glass fell 1.1 per cent to 93 cents.

CBL declined 0.9 per cent to $3.17 before being put in a trading halt ahead of an earnings update on Monday.

Outside the benchmark index, Briscoe Group gained 2.9 per cent to $3.50. It says full-year sales topped $600m for the first time, helped by stronger revenue from sporting goods in the fourth quarter, and it expects to report a record annual profit of about $61m.

Total sales rose 2.6 per cent to about $194m in the 13 weeks ended January 28. Homeware sales climbed 1.3 per cent to $124.8m, although on a same-store basis they were down 0.3 per cent, while sporting goods sales rose 5.1 per cent to $69m, or a 4.9 per cent same-store gain.

"It was a solid update, reaffirming profit around where the market's at," Goodson said. "I think the stock's gain reflects general nervousness about retail, but it has been quite noticeable that retail in Australia and New Zealand does seem to have had quite a good Christmas."

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