Shares in Abano Healthcare rose 1.54 per cent after the company said it is considering a capital return to shareholders after selling its stake in audiology company National Hearing Care (NHC).

Otherwise the New Zealand sharemarket continued to drift today with the benchmark NZX-50 index closing down 3.349 points, or 0.104 per cent, at 3226.88. There were 43 rises and 32 falls among the 107 stocks traded. Turnover was worth $86.74 million.

"It has been a sort of a nothing day with light volumes. The exporters have been pushed around by the firm currency and retailers have done alright," said Stuart Hardie, adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

Abano Healthcare rose 8c to 528 after it said it expects to receive in excess of $26m from the sale of its shareholding in NHC and will return some of the proceeds to shareholders. The private equity firm Crescent Capital is selling NHC to Italian company Amplifon. Mr Hardie said Abano Healthcare was a tightly held stock.

Fletcher Building fell 24c to 835 but a 15c a share dividend is no longer payable today. Cavalier, which is ex a 11c dividend, fell 9c to 311 and Nuplex, which is also ex an 11c dividend, fell 13c to 326.

Air NZ fell a cent to 128, AMP Office Trust fell a cent to 75 and SkyTV fell 3c to 506.

Michael Hill, ex a 2.5c dividend, fell 2c to 69 and Delegat's Group, ex a 8c a share dividend, fell 10c to 175.

The Warehouse rose 2c to 378, Kathmandu rose 3c to 192 and Postie Plus was unchanged at 32.

Hallenstein Glasson fell 4c to 435 after earlier rising to its highest level in nearly three years after the company reported on Monday that annual pre-tax earnings had risen nearly 60 per cent.

Allied Farmers rose slightly to 2.9c after saying it has sold Hanover Finance loans to repay bank debt.

NZ Refining fell 4c to 365 and NZOG rose 2c to 129. SkyCity fell 5c to 283.

APN News rose 5c to 266.

Telecom rose 4c to 208 and Contact Energy was unchanged at 571.

In the United States stocks rose as latecomers bought up sectors that had outperformed during a surprisingly robust September.

"When a month takes you by surprise like this, you tend to be underexposed to stocks and overexposed in cash and bonds. And as the quarter comes to an end, people are rushing to at least have ownership of the stocks that have performed well and have a good outlook. That's causing the aggressiveness in the market," said Marc Pado, US market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.4 per cent to end at 10,858.14, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.5 per cent to 1147.70, and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 2379.59.