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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Tuesday 15th July 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: US financial stocks tumbled yesterday on concern the collapse of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. last week may indicate other regional banks are short of capital. The slide on Wall Street helped Treasury bonds rally, driving yields lower. In New Zealand, figures today are expected to show inflation accelerated in the second quarter on soaring prices of food, fuel and raw materials.

Contact Energy (CEN): A takeover of Origin Energy, Contactís parent, by BG Group may be bad news for shareholders unless BG has a buyer lined up for the New Zealand company, Fairfax reported, citing Forsyth Barr analyst Andrew Harvey-Green. BG last week said it would seek to sell the controlling stake in Contact should it succeed in buying Origin. The biggest utility on the NZX 50 Index yesterday fell 2.6% to NZ$7.40.

OceanaGold Corp. (OGC): Gold yesterday rose 1.4% to US$973.70 amid speculation about an attack on Iran by either the US or Israel, increasing the appeal of the precious metal as a haven. The owner of New Zealandís largest gold mine, Macraes, has tumbled 55% this year, more than twice the decline of the NZX50.

Sealegs Corp. (SLG): The designer and manufacturer of amphibious boats today announced a rescue version of its vessels aimed at organizations such as coastguard agencies. The company in May posted a 92% gain in annual revenue to a record NZ$9.6 million and this month raised NZ$2.9 million in a rights issue that had a 90% take-up. The stock has fallen about 35% this year.

Sky City Entertainment Group (SKC): New Zealandís biggest casino operator yesterday reiterated its forecast for full-year profit growth and said a Las Vegas-style downturn isnít likely to dent its Auckland complex. Revenue from gambling on the so-called Las Vegas Strip has slid for five months in a row.

By Jonathan Underhill

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