New Zealand shares gained in light trading, led higher by Pushpay Holdings and Synlait Milk.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 63.68 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 8,996.16. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 17 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $87.5 million.

"We're faring quite well considering overnight leads in the US were weak, particularly in the technology sector with Facebook being slammed after what on the surface seemed a reasonable result but just didn't meet market expectation at all," said Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

"Down under, we're travelling okay, and we have been relatively solid on really light volume. All eyes will be on US GDP overnight which is expected to be strong, and that will drive markets."


Pushpay led the index higher, rising 4.1 per cent to $4.10. Yesterday, the company said it had nothing to disclose in response to a share price enquiry from the NZX, which queried the stock falling 10.1 per cent between July 18th and July 25th. It's now up 5.4 per cent from that low.

"Even though they're in the NZX50 it can be quite an illiquid stock, so it's not surprising they're seeing big bounces to the upside and the downside," McIntyre said.

Synlait Milk rose 3.5 per cent to $11.17, Sky Network Television gained 2.6 per cent to $2.72, and Z Energy advanced 2.5 per cent to $7.28.

NZX gained 0.9 per cent to $1.11. It has sold its Australian grain data business to Rural Bank for an undisclosed figure, and will close its Melbourne office.

Tourism Holdings was the worst performer, down 1 per cent to $6.24. New Zealand Refining Co fell 0.8 per cent to $2.43.

Mainfreight dropped 0.8 per cent to $27.98.

"They had a pretty upbeat AGM yesterday, they did say parts of their business were relatively sluggish but in the main it was positive - again, that stock has moved on really light volume," McIntyre said.

Fonterra Shareholders Fund was unchanged at $5.16. Fonterra Cooperative chair John Wilson has stood down from the role heading the country's largest dairy processor with immediate effect as he recovers from a "serious health scare".


Outside the benchmark index, Evolve Education rose 3.2 per cent to 64 cents. There is speculation the business is being targeted for takeover by Australia's Affinity Education Group.