New Zealand shares rose, with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare edging up to a record on speculation that the Kiwi dollar would weaken under a Labour-led Government, providing a boon to companies with offshore sales. A2 Milk and Mainfreight added to the benchmark index's gains.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 47.27 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7851.53. Within the index, 24 stocks gained, 18 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was lighter than average at $116 million.
The kiwi fell late on Thursday, although it is up on the week, after a Colmar Brunton poll showed National down 2 points to 39 per cent and Labour unchanged on 43 per cent.
"As we move towards the actual election day and polls indicate the possibility of Labour getting in, people are starting to form views on different aspects such as the currency," said Rickey Ward, NZ equities manager at JBWere NZ. "We've seen pockets of strength in companies favourably exposed to a weaker New Zealand dollar."
F&P Healthcare, which gets almost half its sales in North America, got as high as $12.62, before ending the day up 0.9 per cent at an all-time high close of $12.61. A2 Milk, the milk marketer that has enjoyed strong sales growth in Australia and China, rose 1.9 per cent to $5.91.
Mainfreight, which has transport and logistics operations across the globe, rose 0.5 per cent to $24.58.
Auckland International Airport led the market higher, rising 2.6 per cent to $6.60. Trustpower rose 1.9 per cent to $5.45 and Vista Group International increased 1.8 per cent to $5.55.
Briscoe Group rose 1.4 per cent to $3.75 after the homeware and sporting goods chain lifted first-half profit 4.8 per cent to $28.6 million, even as margins shrank in the face of unseasonable winter weather and heightened competition.
New Zealand Oil & Gas fell 2.8 per cent to 68.5c after a rival bid emerged for partial control of the energy explorer and producer. Cornerstone shareholder Zeta Resources formally lodged its partial takeover offer of 72c apiece for the 42 per cent of shares it doesn't already own, something NZOG's independent directors are inclined to reject as too cheap. The company has received an indicative partial bid by minority shareholder OG Oil & Gas at 77c a share, which the independent directors will assess when they have more information.
Kathmandu Holdings rose 1.8 per cent to $2.27, Scales Corp increased 1.8 per cent to $3.41 and Trade Me Group gained 1.8 per cent to $4.59. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group was the biggest decliner on the NZX 50, falling 1.4 per cent to $31.80.