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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Tuesday 19th August 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 stocks declined, paced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after Barron's said a Treasury rescue of the biggest mortgage financiers would wipe out shareholders. BHP Billiton posted a record annual profit of US$15.4 billion on increased output of crude oil and metals and demand from China. Crude oil fell to $112.90 a barrel in New York, edging closer to the 15-week low it reached on August 15.

AFFCO Holdings (AFF): Profits will almost triple for sheep and beef farmers next season on rising prices for lamb and beef, and a weaker New Zealand dollar, according to Meat and Wool NZ's economic service. AFFCO shares yesterday rose 3.5% to 60 cents.

AMP NZ Office Trust (APT): New Zealand's largest commercial property investor reported full-year distributable profit rose 27% to NZ$52 million. The company said rent reviews would be a key source of earnings growth in the current year with commercial property vacancy rates near historical low levels. APT's units have declined 10% this year, while the NZX 5o Index has dropped 18%.

Infratil (IFT): The investment group yesterday told shareholders they should take a long term view of the company, whose shares have dropped 23% this year. Infratil's assets aren't adversely affected by the global credit squeeze, the company said. The stock was unchanged yesterday at NZ$2.16.

ING (ING): The property trust hired Stuart Harrison as chief financial officer and company secretary for its real estate investment vehicles. Harrison was previously CFO at CDL Investments.

Satara Co-operative Group (SAT): New Zealand's largest kiwifruit cooperative today posted a 30% gain in first-half profit to NZ$1.7 million, while sales rose 3.7%. The shares trade infrequently on the NZAX market and were last at 95 cents on July 30.

Syft Technologies (SYFT): The developer of research technologies to analyse air samples said it has 10 orders for its products as at the end of the first quarter with "many more prospects in the pipeline." The company is on track to turn a profit in 2010, it said in its annual report. The stock last traded at eight cents on July 31 on the Unlisted market.

By Jonathan Underhill

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