NZ shares inch higher

The New Zealand share market rose slightly today as trading remained tentative, with investors looking to US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's speech tonight.

The NZX50 index was up 0.4 per cent, or 1.52 points, to 3468.86.

Within the index, Craigs Investment Partners adviser Greg Easton said trading was modest today with most of the attention on two small caps, Diligent and Xero, both up quite substantially.

"Xero hit new all time highs although on pretty small volumes. They've continued their string of announcements, the latest being a new partnership leading with a US payroll provider," Easton said.

"Diligent have just released a quarterly update continuing their stratospheric growth in sales."

Xero rose 8.6 per cent to $5.70 and Diligent Board Member Services was up 2 per cent to $4.00.

"Investors are still very tentative and cautious, looking for catalysts but really not getting too much," he said.

OceanaGold rose 4.2 per cent to $2.50.

Among financial stocks, would-be bank Heartland was up 3.8 per cent to 55c. Australian wealth manager AMP rose 3.3 per cent to $5.06. Westpac rose 2.4 per cent to $29.20 and ANZ Banking Group rose 2.25 per cent to $29.50.

Australian food ingredient maker Goodman Fielder rose 1.5 per cent to 68c.

Casino and hotel operator SkyCity Entertainment was up 1.4 per cent to $3.55.

Australian phone company Telstra rose 1.4 per cent to $5.00.

Industrial chemicals and resins maker Nuplex led the declining stocks with a 2.35 per cent fall to $2.49.

Ryman Healthcare, the retirement villages operator and developer, fell 2.2 per cent to $3.52.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the whiteware manufacturer and exporter, fell 2 per cent to $1.96.

International trucking and logistics company Mainfreight fell 1.9 per cent to $9.20. Freightways fell 1.3 per cent to $3.75.

New Zealand Refining fell 1.8 per cent to $2.21.

Retailer The Warehouse was down 1.55 per cent to $2.54.

New Zealand Oil & Gas was down 1.2 per cent to 81c.

Vital Healthcare fell 1.2 per cent to $1.23.

Chorus was down 0.95 per cent to $3.13.