The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) is trading firmly in negative territory today thanks to the combination of weak offshore leads and a number of the top 200 shares trading ex-dividend.

The materials and energy sectors are the biggest drags today, with some support coming from the healthcare sector.

Four shares that have managed to defy today’s sell-off, however, include:

Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX: SIP)

Shares of Sigma have jumped more than 12% today after the pharmaceutical wholesaler announced a 17% increase in first half earnings before interest and tax (EBIT). This was well above the company’s prior guidance for 10% growth and the strong result allowed the board to declare an increased interim dividend of 2.5 cents per share. Pleasingly for investors, Sigma also upgraded its full year earnings growth expectations to 10%.

Nextdc Ltd (ASX: NXT)

Shares of Nextdc have surged more than 5.5% today after being locked in a trading halt for the past three days. The company announced on Monday that it was looking to raise $150 million to build a second Sydney data centre thanks to continued strong demand for its premium data centre services. Investors are clearly behind the new development, although Nextdc doesn’t expect the new centre to be completed until the first half of FY 2018.

APN Outdoor Group Ltd (ASX: APO)

Shares of APN Outdoor have climbed more than 2.5% today thanks to a broker upgrade. UBS has upgraded the outdoor advertiser to a buy from neutral, based on a revised valuation. APN Outdoor was smashed last month after cutting its full-year earnings outlook and the shares have continued to trend downwards since. Despite today’s rise, the shares are still trading close to 40% below their recent 52-week high.

Cash Converters International Ltd (ASX: CCV)

Cash Converters shares have rebounded by more than 6% today after suffering huge declines over the past two weeks. The company has been weighed down by the prospect of class actions and proceedings against it from ASIC and, in response, recently announced plans to exit the controversial short term ‘pay day’ lending market. Although this is likely to impact earnings in the short term, Cash Converters is in the process of implementing a new strategy that it believes will provide a more sustainable revenue model moving forward.

CLOSING TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT! -- Here's what happened to The Motley Fool's massive $1 million ASX bet...

Less than three years ago, Motley Fool boss Bruce Jackson bet $1,000,000 of company money (plus $500,000 of his own family's cash) on one unique service known as Motley Fool Pro. Now Pro is up a staggering 89%, darn near DOUBLING members' money! Simply click the link below to get a sneak peek at Pro's 3 biggest winners... the "golden egg" stocks that have powered Pro to 89% returns! Fair warning: Your special time-limited invitation won't wait.

Discover the 3 "golden egg" stocks - and your invitation!

HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Motley Fool’s #1 Dividend Pick for 2017!

With its shares up 155% in just the last five years, this ‘under the radar’ consumer favourite is both a hot growth stock AND our expert’s #1 dividend pick for 2017. Now we’re pulling back the curtain for you... And all you have to do to discover the name, code and a full analysis is enter your email below!

Simply enter your email now to receive your copy of our brand-new FREE report, “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2017.”

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our https://www.fool.com.au/financial-services-guide">Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.

Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of Cash Converters International Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.