The New Zealand sharemarket closed little changed but corporate activity gave investors something to think about in two stocks, and the latest oil exploration well off Taranaki proved a disappointment.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 1.403 points, or 0.046 per cent, at 3042.666. Turnover was worth $50.5 million. There were 38 rises and 35 falls among the 102 stocks traded.

Horizon Energy Distribution shares rose 23.44 per cent, or 79c, to 416 after First NZ Capital began a stand in the market at 415 on behalf of Marlborough Lines, a former failed bidder.

Brokers said First NZ Capital had picked up 697,000 shares by late afternoon trading and a line of 220,000 shares was believed to be ACC selling.

"That one came out of the blue," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene said. The stand was for a blocking stake as a trust already owned 77.3 per cent of Horizon.

Investors were disappointed with a 37c a share bid for Affco from Talleys and the shares were untraded today. Mr Williamson said many shareholders had expected a bid at some time but the price was disappointing.

NZOG fell 7c to 136 after announcing that the oil shows at the Tui SW-2 well were not economic. NZOG owns 12.5 per cent of the field through its subsidiary Steward Petroleum. Pan Pacific Petroleum, which owns 10 per cent, also fell 2c to 25.

Telecom fell 3c to 188 on a day in which there was further speculation in the Australian media about the sale of its AAPT business. Mr Williamson said the stock may have risen late last week on speculation and there was no follow through today.

Nuplex, which reiterated profit guidance recently, rose 6c to 299.

Port of Tauranga was up 4c to 684 following a 25c rise on Friday, when it increased its earnings guidance for the full year.

Fletcher Building was up 4c to 814, New Zealand Refining rose 3c to 330, Ebos Group was up 5c to 615.

Xero was unchanged at 145 after saying it had 20,000 small business customers.

Allied Farmers was unchanged at 5c after saying a court case in the US had gone its way but adding further impairments will be needed for its finance business.

The Australian market was closed for the Queens Birthday holiday.

In the United States, stocks rose in a late rally on Friday as a strong forecast from a chip maker lifted tech shares and helped alleviate concerns about the economy's health after an unexpected drop in retail sales.

US retail sales fell 1.2 per cent in May - the first time in eight months. But a jump in consumer sentiment index to a near 2-1/2-year high in a preliminary reading for June tempered fears of a slowing economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 38.54 points, or 0.38 per cent to 10,211. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 4.76 points, or 0.44 per cent to 1097.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 24.89 points, or 1.12 per cent to 2243.60.

For the week, the Dow rose 2.8 per cent, the S&P gained 2.5 per cent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.1 per cent.

- NZPA