The sharemarket inched into the black today as investors sat tight awaiting some direction.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 3.27 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2746.24, following yesterday's nearly 19-point decline. Turnover totalled $68 million.

"The market is just lacking any sort of direction at all at the moment. It's really a mixed bag out there and it appears most investors (are) just waiting on the sidelines, really not too sure what to do," said Grant Williamson of Hamilton Hindin Greene.

"There's no serious selling in the market either, so people are not really taking profits to any degree - everyone is just waiting."

Top stock Telecom rose 3c to 270, Contact Energy was flat at 565, Fletcher Building lost 6c to 641, and Auckland Airport rose 2c to 153.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare lost a cent to 289, F&P Appliances rose a cent to 67, Sky City gained 2c to 265 and Sky TV was flat at 405.

Methven was flat at 130 after saying it would defend a planned prosecution by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act for allegedly making misleading claims.

Market operator NZX fell 10c to 720 after mixed trading stats for June but news that capital raised on the markets for the first half of the year was more than double the amount raised a year earlier.

Among some of the gains, Mainfreight jumped 11c to 426, Sanford rose 8c to 528, PGG Wrightson was up 2c at 110, NZ Refining climbed 15c to 700, and Hallenstein Glassons rose 5c to 260.

Ebos fell 4c to 544, Freightways lost 2c to 279, NZ Farming Systems Uruguay fell 4c to 45, Steel and Tube lost 4c to 276 and Trustpower was down 3c at 752.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.4 per cent at 3770, while Japan's Nikkei share average slipped 0.5 per cent.

On Wall Street, concerns about the US economic outlook pushed investors into defensive stocks, prompting a late rebound in the Dow industrials and the S&P 500.

However, the technology-heavy Nasdaq slipped as investors rotated out of the tech sector, viewed as more reliant on the economic cycle.

- NZPA