F&P Healthcare lifts weak trading day

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added 1.7 per cent to close at $10.18 today. Photo / Dean Purcell
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added 1.7 per cent to close at $10.18 today. Photo / Dean Purcell

New Zealand shares rose, boosted by news that health appliance firm ResMed has dropped a complaint against Fisher & Paykel Healthcare at the US International Trade Commission, and offsetting largely tepid trading as weak international leads sidelined many investors.

A slide in dual-listed Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group also weighed on the bourse.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 14.89 points or 0.2 per cent to 7,422.50. Within the index, 15 stocks rose, seven were unchanged and 28 fell. Turnover was $151.9 million.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added 1.7 per cent to $10.18, helping the market outperform much of Asia, where concerns about US President Donald Trump's administration hurt investor sentiment.

Markets were jittery after reports Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end a probe into the White House's former national security adviser, and raised questions over whether obstruction of justice charges could be laid against Trump.

"We are in positive territory and that is due to Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. It was up 39c at one stage which obviously was a great boost to the market as whole," said Bryon Burke, head of equities at Craigs Investment Partners.

The stock touched a high of $10.49, before paring gains, with the notice saying ResMed plans to replace the complaint with a new action and is still pursuing its patent dispute with the New Zealand maker of breathing masks in several other jurisdictions.

Heartland Bank shares rose 1.7 per cent to $1.77 after the New Zealand-owned lender said profit rose 13 per cent in the first nine months of its year on an expanding loan book and affirmed guidance for annual earnings growth.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 0.3 per cent to $31.51, while Westpac Banking Group declined 1.5 per cent to $34.80.

Burke said there were more losers than gainers today but volumes were light.

"The market is drifting to a large extent. It's very order-flow driven. The main stories today are Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and the Aussie banks."

Sky Network Television posted the biggest fall, down 3 per cent to $3.55. Burke said it reflected the quiet market as it didn't trade until the afternoon and overall there were only a handful of trades.

A2 Milk led the index higher, adding 2.3 per cent to $3.56 as bargain hunters moved in after some recent profit-taking. Units in Fonterra Shareholders' Fund ended flat at $6 after a better-than-expected overnight GlobalDairyTrade auction.

Kathmandu shed 1 per cent to $1.95, while Metlifecare fell 1.2 per cent to $5.68. Xero came in for profit-taking after a strong rise this week on expectations it will soon be in the black, shedding 0.8 per cent to $23.85.

Looking ahead, investors will be watching for earnings reports tomorrow from companies like Goodman Property Trust, which was trading up 0.4 per cent at $1.24 and Infratil, up 0.3 per cent at $2.99. Ryman Healthcare, up 0.8 per cent to $8.75, is due to report on Friday.

- BusinessDesk

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