Up 20% in 2024, why this ASX 200 healthcare stock just hit a new 52-week high

This healthcare stock has been on fire over 2024.

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It's been a horrid day for the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) and most ASX shares so far this Wednesday. At the time of writing, the ASX 200 has shed a hefty 1.25%, pulling it back under 7,700 points. But let's talk about one ASX 200 healthcare stock that is defying the markets today to decisively push higher.

That ASX 200 healthcare stock is none other than Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd (ASX: FPH). Fisher & Paykel shares closed at $25.45 each yesterday evening. But this morning, those same shares opened at $26.55 and are currently sitting at $26.58, up a rosy 4.44% for the day thus far.

It was even better for Fisher & Paykel earlier this morning too. Just before midday, this ASX 200 healthcare stock hit a new 52-week high of $27.50 a share.

Today's gains (and new 52-week high) are just the latest push higher from Fisher & Paykel though. At current pricing, this healthcare stock is now up a happy 20.5% over 2024 to date, as well as up 16.7% over the past 12 months.

So what on earth is behind this run, and new 52-week high, for Fisher & Paykel Healthcare today?

Why has this ASX 200 healthcare stock just hit a new 52-week high?

Well, the latter first. Today's fresh 52-week high appears to be a direct result of the earnings report that Fisher & Paykel posted this morning before market open.

This report revealed that Fisher & Paykel enjoyed revenues of NZ$1.74 billion over the full year ending 31 March 2024, a 10% rise over the previous financial year.

That helped the ASX 200 healthcare stock deliver an underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) of NZ$264.4 million, up 6% over last year. This rise was assisted by a boost in Fisher & Paykel's gross margins, which rose 2.16% up to 61.1%.

These results allowed Fisher & Paykel to reveal a 10 July dividend worth 23.5 cents per share. This brings the ASX 200 healthcare stock's full-year dividend to 41.5 cents per share, a 2% rise over FY2023.

Here's some of what Fisher & Paykel CEO Lewis Gradon had to say about these results:

After several years of changing demand patterns, we are pleased to have returned to a trajectory of growth. All the right foundations are in place for future success – we have an impressive portfolio of products, strong relationships with our customers and the right infrastructure to meet our future needs…

With a fifty-year track record, we are building on strong foundations. Looking ahead, we are
determined to keep bringing to market new solutions that deliver better outcomes for patients and
sustainable, profitable growth for our shareholders.

Fisher & Paykel also discussed the company's guidance for the 2025 financial year. The healthcare company expects to bring in between NZ$1.9 billion and NZ$2 billion in revenues, with a net profit after tax in the range of NZ$310 million and NZ$360 million.

So Fisher & Paykel's strong 2024 runup is continuing today in light of these results. But investors have been bidding up this ASX 200 healthcare stock for a while now. The company took off after a guidance update for today's results back in March.

As we covered at the time, this guidance told investors to expect revenues for the 12 months to 31 March of approximately NZ$1.7 billion, and a net profit after tax of between NZ$250 million and NZ$260 million. So Fisher & Paykel has obviously delivered on this guidance today.

It's clear investors are appreciating these numbers, judging from the reaction of the Fisher & Paykel stock price. Let's see if today's new 52-week high is the last one for this ASX 200 healthcare stock in 2024.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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