New Zealand share prices ended with a slight gain despite the market's two top stocks - F&P Healthcare and a2 Milk - losing their shine as trade thinned out before the long Labour Day weekend.
A 20-cent or 3.75 per cent rebound in power generator Meridian Energy to $5.54 helped lift the index into slightly positive territory, the S&P/NZX50 Index closing 63 points, or 0.5 per cent higher, at 12,470.34.
The day's volume came to 60 million shares, worth $188 million.
Forsyth Barr broker David Price said trade volumes were very light, repeating the trend of the last few days.
Respiratory products maker F&P Healthcare lost six cents to $35.86 and alternative dairy company a2 Milk dropped 8c to $15.37.
While F&P Healthcare's business had largely been a beneficiary of the Covid-19 pandemic, Price said that as cases kept going up, it appeared rates of hospitalisation were going down.
"The stock has been through a big range of late and people want to discern where it stands as cases go up, but as hospitalisation rates go in the opposite direction," Price said.
In a2 Milk's case, short selling in the stock out of Australia had been at its greatest for some time as the company continued to grapple with a severely curtailed unofficial daigou trade in infant formula out of Melbourne, which remains in lockdown.
"Certainly, the battle lines between the bulls and the bears have been drawn over a2 Milk, but we are still positively disposed towards it," Price said.
Many of a2 Milk's daigou, or unofficial traders, are based in Melbourne.
Manuka honey company Comvita, which on Thursday held an upbeat annual meeting, saw its share price lift by six cents to $3.35.
Comvita said it had experienced a strong start to its financial year, with double-digit revenue growth in the first quarter.
The company said its gross profit margins were strong, that its costs were in line with expectations and that the nine consecutive trading months had been profitable.
Auckland International Airport, which held its annual meeting week, saw its share price drop by 2c to $7.36.
The airport company said it doesn't expect an international aviation recovery for more than three years and has called for urgent work to allow the country to live with the risk of Covid-19.
Market debutant, medicinal cannabis company Rua Bioscience, retained its post-listing gains, the 50c shares ending at 70c, up 2c on the day.
Among the lower cap issues, data processing company Solution Dynamics rallied by 19c cents to $3.15 after holding its annual meeting, where reiterated its previous guidance for 2021 of earnings in a range of $2.0 to $2.5m
Technology company Eroad, which has had a strong run throughout year, ended 10c higher at $4.15.