Shares post modest gains

The New Zealand sharemarket posted modest gains today, defying weak offshore leads as investors looked for security in yield stocks.

The NZX50 index rose 0.21 per cent, or 7.40 points, to 3,559.47. Within the index, 24 stocks rose and 18 fell. Rakon led gainers, and OceanaGold fell.

First NZ Capital head of institutional equities James Lee said property stocks and Telecom were the stand out performers on the day.

"It's generally a pretty weak time for the New Zealand market, volumes are light", he said.

"Yields are obviously one of the few things you can count on in this market, so people are attracted to yield in a tough environment."

The New Zealand market strongly outperformed Asian indices, which slipped back to three month lows on the back of suppressed global risk appetites.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed 0.94 per cent lower, at 20,292.03.

In China, the Shanghai SE Composite Index lost 1.33 per cent, down 32.6 points to 2,416.28.

The fear has been sparked by the European Central Bank's resistance to do more to stabilise the Eurozone, combined with the anti-bailout sentiment coming from recently elected Greek politician Alexis Tsipras.

Lee said investors would still be very wary of the precarious situation in Europe.

"The next few weeks will be crucial for sentiment. People are becoming more concerned and aware of the potential implications of a Greek default again."

Rakon, the manufacturer of crystal timing devices used in electronics, led gainers, climbing 3.8 per cent to 55c.

The country's biggest phone company, Telecom, rose 3.1 per cent to $2.65.

PGG Wrightson, the rural services company, rose 2.9 per cent to 35c.

AMP NZ Office, the specialist investor in office real estate, rose 1.6 per cent to 98c.

Australian phone company Telstra Corp rose 1.5 per cent to $4.68. Investment bank Credit Suisse is advising the company on its media strategy, including the possibility of acquiring Consolidated Media Holdings.

Oceanagold Corp, the miner which operates the Macraes and Reefton goldfields, led decliners, dropping 7.6 per cent to $2.45. The price of gold dropped overnight, and was recently trading at US$1,592 per ounce.

Australian wealth manager AMP fell 2.8 per cent to $5.15. New Zealand Oil & gas, the energy exploration and production firm, fell 2.5 per cent to 77c. The company disclosed that chief financial officer and company secretary Craig Jones will leave the firm tomorrow.

Port of Tauranga, New Zealand's biggest export hub, fell 2.4 per cent to $11.08. Fashion retailer Hallensteins Glassons fell 2 per cent to $3.96.