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Stocks to watch: Air NZ, Fletcher Building, NZ Oil & Gas

Friday 17th September 2010

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Air NZ is in urgent talks with Wellington business interest in an attempt to resuscitate its alliance with Virgin Blue, Fletcher Building's executives have been fielding many questions on the Canterbury earthquake in a world tour, while falling crude oil prices hit NZ Oil & Gas.

Air New Zealand (AIR): The country’s national carrier is in urgent talks with Wellington business interest to try and resuscitate its trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Blue after Australia’s antitrust regulator shot it down in a draft decision, the Dominion Post reported. A group of Wellington businesses is in talks with the airline to address the concerns raised by the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission. The shares were unchanged at $1.29 in trading yesterday.

Fletcher Building (FBU): Fletcher Building executives on a world tour fielded a lot of questions over the 7.1 magnitude Canterbury earthquake, the New Zealand Herald reported. General manager investor relations Philip King said the share price rallied on investors’ belief the biggest company on the stock exchange will benefit from the reconstruction effort. The shares fell 0.2% to $8.33 in trading yesterday.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The price of crude oil on the nearest contract on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell 1.2% to US$74.39 a barrel as pipeline that supplies Canadian refineries in the US Midwest is set to reopen after it was shut down in July due to a rupture. NZOG’s shares fell 2.3% to $1.25 in trading yesterday.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZS): Olam International said it won’t extend its takeover offer for Farming Systems, which is due to lapse on September 24. The deal is conditional on getting to at least 50%. The shares traded at 69 cents yesterday, 1 cent below Olam’s offer.

NZX (NZX): The securities market operator said it experienced “failure in multiple hardware servers” which made it unable to calculate index levels before lunchtime yesterday. The failure in the servers is unrelated to the implementation of the Clearing House. The shares were unchanged at $1.62 yesterday.

Pyne Gould (PGC): The financial services company announced that it had signing a merger agreement for its Marac unit with Canterbury Building Society and Southern Cross Building Society. Pyne Gould would hold 71% of the firm, and the building societies would have a 14.5% share each. PGC rose 2.4% to 42 cents yesterday and CBS gained 5.5% to $2.90.

Sky Network Television (SKT): The pay-television operator will have to start preparing for more competition from its free-to-air rivals after the government brought forward its plan to switch-off its analogue television system by the end of 2013. Sky has been shifting its customers on to a digital platform for more than a decade. The shares fell 0.6% to $5.15. 

Themes of the day: The New Zealand dollar extend its decline following the central bank's subdued assessment of the outlook for the domestic economy and the likelihood that further interest rate increases will be more mild in magnitude than previously flagged. Stocks were mixed on Wall Street, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index falling 0.04%. The NZX 50 Index closed near a four-month high yesterday.

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