NZ shares rose as A2 Milk recovered from yesterday's decline on the surprise departure of its chief executive, while blue-chip stocks Ryman Healthcare and F&P Healthcare also booked strong gains.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose by 54.62 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 11284.22. Within the index, 18 stocks rose, 18 fell, and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $167.2 million

A2 Milk bounced back from yesterday's decline when it fell as much as 7.7 per cent after chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka unexpectedly resigned. The stock rose by 2.4 per cent to $14.97 with 962,644 shares changing hands

"The surprise with the CEO leaving, it's never a good thing, but they've done well in terms of explaining the financial side of things and if you look through yesterday's press releases I think at worst you would say it's a neutral result and actually it looks like a slight upgrade, said Forsyth Barr's head of institutional broking David Price.


"The stock is recovering from the initial reeling," he added.

A2's recovery and gains in other major stocks such as Ryman and F&P Healthcare helped push the benchmark index higher.

"A good part of the rise today, 60 points of the upward move in the market today, is A2 Milk, Ryman Healthcare and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, that's the lion's share of the gains and the rest is very quiet," Price said.

F&P Healthcare rose 2.5 per cent to $21.60, with 1.3 million shares trading hands

Ryman, which has an investor day coming up, rose 3 per cent to $16.14, which Price said was a continuation of the retirement village operator's strong run.

Of other aged care providers, Oceania Healthcare rose by 0.1 per cent to $1.10, while Metlifecare and Arvida were both unchanged at $5.86 and $1.60 respectively.

Spark New Zealand was the volume leader today, falling by 0.7 per cent to $4.37 as more than 5.2 million shares traded hands.

Pushpay was today's second most traded stock, although its price was unchanged at $4.02. The company "has had a fairly good run and most of that goes back to April since we saw it at these levels," Price said.


Other stocks to trade on volumes of more than a million shares included Arvida, Contact Energy which rose by 0.7 per cent to $7.25, Kiwi Property Group which went unchanged at $1.53, and Gentrack, up by 1.1 per cent at $3.64.

Sky Network Television reached a new low, falling by 3.8 per cent to 77 cents on a volume of 472,000. Although Price warned "turnover is so light, things are moving in a disproportionate manner."

Restaurant Brands was also among the day's decliners, falling by 3.6 per cent to $11.60 and Vista Group which fell 2.7 per cent to $3.60.

Outside the benchmark index, Tower was unchanged at 73.5 cents. Its chief executive, Richard Harding, said he planned to step down late next year once the insurer bedded in a new digital sales platform.