Telecom rises as the nation's relatively high dividend yields draw investors but Infratil falls after taking a charge against its British airport investments.
The NZX 50 fell 2.66 points, or 0.1%, to 3957.91. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 16 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $70.6 million.
"Savers are being penalised," says David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr. "People are being forced off the sidelines and into high risk investments than normally. It's a global phenomenon. New Zealand is one of the high-yielding markets."
Telecom rose 1.3% to $2.41. At today's price it has a dividend yield of 12.5%, while a one-year term deposit offers about 4.27%.
Fisher & Paykel Appliances, which gets more than 50% of sales in US dollars, rose 1.3% to $2.43 as the kiwi held near a two-week low at 81.60 US cents.
Infratil fell 0.5% to $2.18. The company took a $43.9 million charge to write down the carrying value of the Glasgow Prestwick and Kent airports, which will be reflected in the first-half net profit, the company says in a statement.
The investment firm is trying to sell the unprofitable airports and has already written down their value by $60.4 million in the past two financial years.
"There's been a for-sale sign there for quite some time," Mr Price says.
Fletcher Building, the biggest construction and building materials group on the NZX 50, fell 1.4% to $7.24 even after Real Estate Institute figures showed home sales rose last month and the national median house price hit a record.
Air New Zealand, the government-controlled airline slated for a partial selldown, rose 0.8% to $1.24, with 9.6 million shares changing hands, the biggest daily volume since July 2008.
AMP, the Australian wealth manager, was up 3.2% to $5.89 and Auckland International Airport fell 0.8% to $2.655. OceanaGold, operator of the Macraes gold field, rose 2.8% to $4.42.
TrustPower, the utility controlled by Infratil, was up 1.6% to $8.53 and PGG Wrightson fell 2.9% to 33 cents.
Among smaller stocks, Windflow Technology dropped 21% to 15 cents, while AWF Group climbed 1.6 % to $2.50.
Contact Energy fell 0.2% to $5.35 and carpet maker Cavalier shed 1.1% to $1.85.