New Zealand shares rose, led by New Zealand Refining Co and Port of Tauranga. Sky Network Television dropped back after it turned to a loss in 2018.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 19.76 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 9,159.63. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 18 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $136 million.

New Zealand Refining was the best performer, up 3.6 per cent to $2.60. The company, which yesterday reported a $2.8m loss for the six months through June 30, paid a half-year dividend and forecast record production in 2019 amid strong on-going margins.

Port of Tauranga rose 3 per cent to $4.90. New Zealand's biggest port operator posted a 13 per cent rise in annual profit to $94.3m, driven by record cargo volumes, and plans further capacity expansion. The company will pay a final ordinary dividend of 7 cents per share, and a further special dividend of 5 cents a share.


"That was a standout. Their profit was in line with our expectations but the mix of cargoes was slightly different," said Greg Easton, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "The slight surprise was another special dividend."

Trade Me Group, which declared its a 22 cents per share special dividend on Wednesday, rose 2.6 per cent to $5.23. The online auction company's shares have gained 11 per cent since it reported annual revenue of more than $250m for the first time. June year net profit rose 3.9 per cent to $96.6m.

Metlifecare rose 2.5 per cent to $6.254, and NZX gained 1.8 per cent to $1.11.

Sky Network Television fell 3.4 per cent to $2.56. The pay-TV provider wrote down its value by $360m, resulting in a $240.7m annual loss.

Sky wrote down the value of its goodwill to $1.07 billion from $1.43b. Excluding the writedown, underlying profit for the June year rose 2.6 per cent to $119.3m. Sales revenue fell 6 per cent to a six-year low of $839.7m.

"It wasn't all bad. The headline number obviously reflected just how far behind they are in respect of technology," Easton said.

"They have slowed the shrinkage of the client base, obviously repacking the basics package into those cheaper options has worked.

"They're facing global giants and even locally, with Spark putting up contest for sporting contracts," Easton said.

"Sky's real strength is still that they're a proven broadcaster, particularly of sport, and that they've got the content which is what people really want - they don't care how they get it, they want the content."

Vector dropped 3 per cent to $3.26. It reported flat operating earnings for the year ended June, with growth in its smart meter business and a better performance in gas unable to offset higher costs in its electricity distribution arm.

Westpac Banking Corp fell 1.7 per cent to $30.55, Heartland Bank dropped 1.7 per cent to $1.74 and Goodman Property Trust fell 1.7 per cent to $1.465.

Infratil dipped 0.4 per cent to $3.43. The infrastructure investor sees earnings in the current financial year "bouncing around the top end of guidance" of between $500m and $540m, chief executive Marko Bogoievski told the company's annual meeting in Wellington.

Outside the benchmark index, IkeGPS surged 14 per cent to 57 cents. The company raised $5m in an oversubscribed share placement at 52 cents per share. The capital will be used in an effort to accelerate growth for its new project and smooth lumpy sales. It has a further $1.25m share purchase plan in the works, and that is likely to open on September 6.

"They obviously did that easily and the market liked it," Easton said.

"They've got a very clever product suite. They still do some very specialised stuff, particularly for utility companies, and they're dominating the market in the States. That capital raising is a vote of confidence in the technology and the company."

Metro Performance Glass dropped 6 per cent to 79 cents. The company downgraded its guidance at its annual shareholders' meeting this morning due to weakness at its Australian division. Metro Glass expects group earnings before interest and tax in the 2019 financial year to be at the lower end of its target range of $30m to $33m.

Delegat Group rose 0.1 per cent to $10. New Zealand's largest listed winemaker lifted annual profit 15 per cent to $46.8m, boosted by a revaluation of its biological assets.It also confirmed its growth outlook for the next three years.