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NZ shares rise as A2 and Fletcher Building rebound

New Zealand shares rose, led higher by Freightways and Comvita, as a2 Milk Co and Fletcher Building rebounded from recent selling ahead of the Christmas holiday.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 57.05 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 8,401.2. Within the index, 34 stocks rose, 13 fell and three were unchanged. Turnover was $125 million.

"There's a strong Santa Clause rally that's ongoing and people looking to bed in the gains," said Shane Solly, director at Harbour Asset Management.

"It's a pretty positive run into the Christmas period, topping off what's been a positive year. At the start of the year, not many people would have expected a 22 per cent gain."

Freightways was the best performer, rising 3.5 per cent to $7.78, and Comvita rose 3 per cent to $8.24.

Summerset Group Holdings rose 2.1 per cent to $5.34. The Wellington-based retirement village developer and operator lifted full-year earnings guidance on strong resales volumes and margins as well as good margins on new occupation right sales.

It expects underlying profit to be in a range of $77m to $79m in calendar 2017, versus prior guidance of $72m to $75m, it said in a statement.

That represents an increase on the previous year's underlying profit of between 36 per cent and 40 per cent, it said.

"That's a pretty helpful upgrade, really highlighting that there is some resilience in the broader New Zealand economy," Solly said.

A2 Milk rose 2.3 per cent to $8.15.

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