The New Zealand sharemarket ended slightly higher after a late flurry dragged it out of the negative territory where it had spent much of the day.

It was also a day where some stocks made big gains, with health products supplier Ebos Group, ending up more than 3 per cent during a day when it hit a new high.

The benchmark NZX-50 index ended up 0.59 points to 3265.1, having been down 10 points into the final hour of trading.

Data released during the afternoon showed growth in the Australian economy disappointed in the third quarter, lifting just 0.2 per cent, but other figures showed Chinese factories revved up production in November.

The ANZ index for New Zealand's main commodity exports rose 4.5 per cent last month to a record high, following a 3.5 per cent gain in October. Translated into NZ dollar earnings, the index was up 1.4 per cent last month to just below its all-time high set in May.

Among leading shares, Contact Energy gained 5c to 598 today, Fletcher Building lost 8c to 787, Telecom eased 1c to 215, and Auckland Airport gained 3c to 211.

Fishing company Sanford rose 5c to 475 after announcing the completion of its agreement to buy Pacifica Seafoods' Greenshell mussel and Pacific oyster businesses for $85 million.

Ebos shares ended the day up 23c at 775, having been as high as 780 at one point, while Transpower gained 16c to 744, and OceanaGold gained 25c to 437.

Methven closed up 7c to 163, having yesterday dropped to a three-month low 155, after a rapid decline from 190 in the past three weeks.

Mainfreight gained 6c to 741, Freightways lost 4c to 305, Xero gained 6c to 202, Comvita fell 5c to 170, and Delegats Group lifted 4c to 174.

Trading in shares of Satara Cooperative were on a trading halt during the day, with the company announcing just before the market closed that its proposed merger with EastPack had been cancelled.

Around $85m of stocks were traded, with 30 rises and 44 falls.

- NZPA