New Zealand shares gained, led by Vista Group International and Xero, while Goodman Property and Arvida Group declined.
The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 27.67 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 7196.78. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 19 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $203.7 million.
Vista Group International was the best performer, up 2.8 per cent to $5.98, while Xero gained 2.6 per cent to $19.79.
Freightways rose 2.6 per cent to $7.49, an all-time record, and has gained 19 per cent in the past 12 months.
"It's been an extremely good performer for quite some time now, and with retail stocks saying e-sales are growing, it stands to benefit," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
Sky Network Television gained 1.8 per cent to $3.92. The stock dropped to a near-six year low of $3.78 on February 23 after the Commerce Commission rejected its proposed merger with the New Zealand operations of Vodafone. The companies have lodged a High Court appeal against the decision.
Goodman Property was the worst performer, down 1.6 per cent to $1.205, while Arvida Group declined 1.6 per cent to $1.27 and Metro Performance Glass dropped 1.5 per cent to $1.30.
Retirement village operator Oceania Healthcare announced today it is planning to raise $200 million in a much-anticipated initial public offering in order to cut its debt and potentially buy new development sites, and will list on the NZX and ASX.
"It could put a little bit of pressure on other listed retirement village stocks. Investors don't want to get overexposed to that sector so you might see a bit of weakness, but I wouldn't expect too much," Williamson said. Listed retirement village operators declined today, with Summerset Group down 1 per cent to $5.17 and Metlifecare dipping 0.3 per cent to $6.13.
Separately, Summerset announced it will expand its funding lines with a new $600 million syndicated loan facility refinance to pay for development projects.
Outside the benchmark index, NPT dropped 0.9 per cent to 58.5c. The company has called a special meeting on April 21 in Auckland where a proposed deal with Kiwi Property Group will be put to shareholders with the blessing of the board. A rival bid by Augusta Capital, which owns 9.3 per cent of NPT, won't be discussed at the meeting but Augusta's resolutions to dump the board and install its own directors will still be voted on.
Salt Funds principal Matt Goodson on Thursday urged his fellow NPT shareholders to reject the deal, and NPT chairman Tony Sewell today said he was "disappointed" and will take it up directly with the fund manager.
"I think most people know NPT in its current form doesn't have the size nor scale to survive among the listed property stocks on the market," Williamson said. "So something will have to happen."