New Zealand shares rose, led higher by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare which reported a record profit and a positive outlook as the pandemic spurs demand for medical supplies.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 123.31 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 11,252.54. Within the index, 24 stocks fell, 20 rose, and six were unchanged. Turnover was $106.3 million.
The benchmark's largest stock rose 4.7 per cent to a record $33.50 after it beat its earnings guidance, reporting a 37 per cent lift in annual profit as demand for its products to treat Covid-19 patients soared. Net profit was $287.3m, up from $209.2m a year earlier.
The medical devices maker said demand for its respiratory humidifiers had accelerated since early January. While the company does not make ventilators, its range of devices used to aid breathing in surgery were put to use treating less severe cases.
Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, said Fisher & Paykel was almost single handedly driving the market higher with its "stunning" result.
"We are the only one bucking the trend and I think that is the FPH effect," he said.
The NZ market had been expected to start on the backfoot after Wall Street faltered on Friday. Other share markets across Asia were weaker today but the local market was an outlier.
While the Fisher & Paykel result was ahead of expectations, the outlook had been somewhat conservative given uncertainty about how long the effects of the pandemic would last. Lister said investors were voting with their money and seeing potential for the strong performance to continue.
Risk aversion still hung-over swathes of the market today as the continued spread of Covid-19 made investors doubt the chances of a swift economic recovery.
Lister said this had put investors back in a risk-off mood and the more resilient, defensive companies were performing well.
Domestically focused logistics firm Freightways rose 2.8 per cent to $7.09, while international player Mainfreight held at $39.25.
Auckland International Airport gained 3.2 per cent at $6.43. Port of Tauranga rose 1.8 per cent to $7.56.
Electricity generator and retailer Meridian Energy advanced 2.5 per cent to $4.94 and telecommunications provider Spark New Zealand increased 1.1 per cent to $4.48.
A2 Milk Company, another star performer through the pandemic, gained 1.7 per cent at $19.76.
At the other end of the spectrum, stocks leveraged to global growth were generally weaker.
Global cinema software developer Vista Group International fell 4.5 per cent to $1.49, Air New Zealand dropped 2.3 per cent to $1.26 and Tourism Holdings decreased 2 per cent to $1.96.
Dual-listed lenders fell; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was down 2.5 per cent at $19.68 and Westpac Banking was down 2.4 per cent at $18.82.
Kathmandu posted the day's biggest decline, falling 5.2 per cent to $1.09.
Outside of the benchmark index, Rakon shares held at 26 cents after the telecommunications component maker reported better-than-expected earnings and said the outlook, while murky, was generally positive.
Abano Healthcare jumped 17.2 per cent to $3.00 after it said it had received two "credible" proposals to buy a cornerstone shareholding in the company, one of which had made an offer to acquire all of the Abano shares in a scheme of arrangement. The offer is now under consideration.
TruScreen shares slipped 1.8 per cent to 5.5 cents after it reported its total revenue was down 18 per cent to $2.5m for the year ended March 31.