With reporting season due to kick off next month investors will be on the lookout for poor pre-result trading updates, otherwise known as "confessions".
It's perhaps a good sign that such announcements have so far been relatively few and far between.
Tepid Christmas trading prompted outdoor apparel retailer Kathmandu to deliver a disappointing update late last month. Then on January 7 The Warehouse Group revealed that adjusted first-half profit would be around 20 per cent down on last year as a result of flat revenue and slimmer margins at the Red Sheds and lower sales at Noel Leeming.
Interestingly, James Pascoe - the retail group owned by David and Anne Norman - is viewing a dip in the big box retailer's share price as a buying opportunity.
The company, whose businesses include department store chain Farmers and book retailer Whitcoulls, boosted its stake in The Warehouse from 6.3 per cent to 7.4 per cent this week.
Elsewhere in retail land, fashion seller Hallenstein Glasson's shares rallied on Monday after the company said trading over Christmas and into January had been robust.
That could be a good sign for Pumpkin Patch, which hasn't updated the market but warned before Christmas that poor trading over the festive season could result in the children's clothing retailer breaching its bank covenants.
Marcus Curley, Goldman Sachs New Zealand's former long-serving head of equity research, has taken up a new role with a rival broker.
After a 10-year stint with the New York-based investment bank, he's now heading up the research team at UBS New Zealand, the local division of Switzerland's biggest bank.
Curley says his move "reflects part of a broader UBS strategy to expand its securities offering in New Zealand, including a deeper local research offering".
Goldman analyst Matt Henry has taken over the head of research role vacated by Curley.
Henry says Goldman is close to employing a new analyst, who he couldn't name.
Cooks plans NXT listing
Cooks Global Foods, the New Zealand franchiser of the Esquires cafe chain in markets outside Australasia, is eyeing up a listing on the NZX's soon-to-launch NXT market that could raise capital for its global expansion plans.
The Auckland-based company is already listed on the NZAX junior market.
Executive chairman Keith Jackson says the new market could provide a "stepping stone" to an eventual NZX main board listing.
NZX will fund Edison Investment Research to produce reports on all firms listed on NXT, which will target fast-growing firms in the $10 million to $100 million market capitalisation range.
Jackson says that research makes the new market particularly attractive.
Cooks has been paying Edison to publish research on its business, but there's a perception in the market that company-funded reports lack independence.
Jackson didn't want to put a figure on how much Cooks may raise through an NXT listing, but says new capital could be used to fund "growth projects" overseas and potential acquisitions.
In December Jackson hinted that the company was keen to acquire the Esquire rights in Australia and New Zealand, which are held by ASX-listed Retail Food Group.
Firms previously tipped to be considering listing on NXT include Auckland's Invivo Wines and technology developers Straker Translations, Fronde and Booktrack.
An NZX spokeswoman says the timing for the first listing is dependent on companies preparing their listing applications and disclosure documentation.
"The market will officially launch at the first NXT company listing event," she says.
"A date has not yet been set for the first NXT company listing."
Contracts on offer
Local fund managers will soon be vying for a couple of meaty outsourcing contracts.
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is yet to appoint an external manager for the $260 million active New Zealand equities management mandate previously managed by AMP.
The Super Fund terminated the mandate in November, at the same time as AMP made sweeping changes to its local funds management business.
Meanwhile, AMP has said it expects to appoint an external manager for its New Zealand equities management business by March 31.
Head of equities Guy Ellife and senior analyst Jonathan Davis will leave the firm later this month as the company outsources its New Zealand equity management to a third party.
Deflation is the 'Darth Vader of the economy'
The local sharemarket's looking a bit subdued compared with this time last year.
But in saying that, there's nothing to suggest the party's over and that an almost six-year equity bull-run is coming to an end.
By 11am yesterday the NZX 50 gross index had gained 2 per cent since the market opened on January 5.
To compare, the benchmark index - which gained 18 per cent over the course of last year - had risen around 4 per cent by January 22 last year.
After so many years of strong returns New Zealand stocks have become pricey.
However, rapidly weakening inflation means interest rate hikes from the Reserve Bank have become an increasingly distant prospect. There's even talk of rate cuts being bandied about now.
In this environment the sharemarket will remain an attractive investment destination, but shareholders will want to see the earnings growth required to justify ever-increasing valuations.
The spectre of deflation, though, should be a concern for all investors. Its impact on consumer spending could have a devastating impact on company earnings.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of investment firm SkyBridge Capital, described deflation as the "Darth Vader of the economy".