Shares in Abano Healthcare rose 1.54 per cent after the company said it was 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 yesterday with the NZX-50 index closing down 3.35 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 3226.88. There were 44 rises and 34 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 all right," said Stuart Hardie, adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

Abano Healthcare rose 8c to $5.28 after it said it expected to receive in excess of $26 million from the sale of its shareholding in NHC and would return some of the proceeds to shareholders. The private equity firm Crescent Capital is selling NHC to Italian company Amplifon. Hardie said Abano Healthcare was a tightly held stock.

Fletcher Building fell 24c to $8.35 after going ex a 15c a share dividend. Cavalier, which is ex an 11c dividend, fell 9c to $3.11 and Nuplex, which is also ex an 11c dividend, fell 13c to $3.26.

Air NZ fell a cent to $1.28, AMP Office Trust fell a cent to 75c and Sky TV fell 3c to $5.06.

Michael Hill, ex a 2.5c dividend, fell 2c to 69c and Delegat's, ex an 8c a share dividend, fell 10c to $1.75.

The Warehouse rose 2c to $3.78, Kathmandu rose 3c to $1.92 and Postie Plus was unchanged at 32c.

Hallenstein Glasson fell 4c to $4.35 after earlier rising to its highest level in nearly three years after reporting 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 $3.65. NZOG rose 2c to $1.29. SkyCity fell 5c to $2.83.

APN News rose 5c to $2.66.

Telecom rose 4c to $2.08 and Contact Energy was unchanged at $5.71.

In the US, stocks rose as latecomers bought up sectors that had outperformed during a surprisingly robust September. "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," said Marc Pado, at Cantor Fitzgerald in San Francisco.

The Dow Jones index gained 0.4 per cent to 10,858.14.

- NZPA