Activity remained subdued on the New Zealand sharemarket today with little news about specific stocks, and the market not reacting to a steady stream of economic news.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 5.7 points at 3329.8, having ended up 6.1 points yesterday.

"Not all market participants are back at work yet, so that's leading to some pretty quiet trading," Grant Williamson, of Hamilton Hindin Greene, said.

"The market's a fraction firmer, but really there are no leads on the international markets - they're all very quiet and there's no volatatility to speak of on the international scene either."

There was no sign of market reaction to the quarterly survey of business opinion released by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research this morning. The key indicator of economic health showed modest, but solid, growth in activity at the end of last year.

"In fact it was probably the best outcome that could be hoped for - actual and expected activity picked up, but inflation pressures showed no further tightening," said Westpac chief economist Brendan O'Donovan.

Top stock Telecom gained 2c to 220, Fletcher Building was up 5c at 783, and Contact Energy lifted 4c to 623.

After the market closed, Contact announced its current managing director David Baldwin would step down in three months and rejoin parent company Origin Energy. His successor, Dennis Barnes, has worked for Origin since 1998.

The massive floods in Queensland will have implications for the Australian economy, and the rebuilding effort may benefit some New Zealand stocks such as Fletcher Building and Cavalier Carpet, which closed up 2c at 307, Mr Williamson said.

Casino company Sky City hit its highest level since March 2010, rising 2c to 338. The company has been refurbishing its Australian properties, and the flagship Auckland casino was performing well.

"They've already spoken to the market of the possible benefits they will see from the upcoming world cup, so all in all 2011 should be a good year for Sky City," he said.

Sky TV fell 3c to 522, Auckland Airport lost a cent to 221, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare lost a cent to 310 and F&P Appliances was up a cent at 57.

Among retailers, The Warehouse was up a cent at 344, Hallenstein Glasson fell a cent to 415, and jeweller Michael Hill was flat at 87.

Mainfreight was down 4c at 795, Steel & Tube rose 2c to 220 and Ebos Group lost 5c to 735.

Dual-listed stocks were mixed. Telstra rose 7c to 370, while ANZ fell 5c to 2971, Westpac lost 15c to 2865 and AMP was down 2c at 675.

Australia's S&P/ASX-200 Index was steady, down 2 points at 4710.4.

Earlier, US stocks recovered from early losses in light volume on Monday, ending little changed as prospects for strong earnings overcame fears Portugal would be forced into a bailout.

- NZPA