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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Wednesday 3rd September 2008

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The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading yesterday.

Themes of the day: The New Zealand dollar extended its slide, reaching to almost 68 US cents and was recently at 68.66 cents. Crude-oil futures for October fell 5% to US$109.71 a barrel and earlier reached a five-month low $105.46 after Hurricane Gustav caused little disruption to rigs and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark interest rate a quarter point to 7%, which may help soften the impact of a slowdown in New Zealand's biggest export market.

Austral Pacific Energy (APX): The owner of 69.5% of the Cheal oil field onshore in the Taranaki region said it began production from its Cheal A7 well. Austral's shares fell 9.1% to 40 cents yesterday and have declined about 70% this year.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings (FPA), Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (FPH): The New Zealand dollar traded at almost 68 US cents and has declined from more than 80 US cents earlier this year. A weaker currency helps boost the New Zealand dollar value of exporters' overseas sales made in US dollars. F&P Appliances rose three cents to NZ$1.80 yesterday and has slumped almost 50% this year. F&P Healthcare rose four cents to NZ$3.20 and is down 10% this year.

Michael Hill International (MHI): The jewelry chain today said it completed the purchase of 17 stores in the US states of Illinois and Missouri from Whitehall Jeweler. The purchase price is about US$5.5 million. The shares fell one cent to 83 cents yesterday, to be down 30% this year.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand (MCK): The hotel manager didn't get enough support from Metropolis apartment owners to manage their units, the New Zealand Herald reported. Millennium stopped running the tower as a hotel on Sunday. It had a three-month management contract to oversee letting 100 units. The shares were unchanged at 56 cents yesterday and fell 21% this year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude-oil futures for October fell 5% to US$109.71 a barrel in New York yesterday. The price earlier fell to a five-month low US$105.46.

OceanaGold Corp. (OGC): Gold had the biggest drop in three weeks as falling fuel costs and a stronger US dollar reduced demand for the metal as an inflation hedge.
Gold futures for December delivery fell 3% to $810.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

By Jonathan Underhill

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