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Stocks to watch: Guinness Peat, Ebos, APT, AIA, DGL, TEL

Monday 1st March 2010

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Guinness Peat Group share slip as they post a worse than anticipated full year loss, AMP NZ Office Trust rises on promise of restructure and Ebos shares climb as it heads for record full year profit. Domestic figures due out today include migration and tourism figures and the ANZ Commodity Price Index.

Guinness Peat Group (NZX: GPG ): The company chaired by Ron Brierley posted a "worse than anticipated" full year loss of 38 million pounds amid rising costs that slashed operating profit by 43%. Still, the investment company retained its 1p dividend and 1 for 10 bonus share issue and Brierley said the board is working on returning value to shareholders as a "top priority". The shares slipped 1.2% to 82 cents in trading on the NZX on Friday.

AMP NZ Office Trust (NZX: APT ): The property investor bowed to shareholder pressure and said it will restructure by mid-year as a normal company with its own board and a new management fee structure to clearly separate the interests of the trust and its manager, AMP Haumi Management Ltd. The shares rose 4.1% to 77 cents on Friday.

Ebos Group (NZX: EBO ): Chief executive Mark Waller said full-year earnings would match the record level in the consensus of analyst forecasts at $23.5 million. Waller told BusinessWire the company could spend $100 million on acquisitions and is attracted to scientific products distributor in Australia. The shares climbed 5.2% to $6.28 on Friday.

Auckland International Airport  (NZX: AIA ): The nation’s busiest gateway on Friday lifted underlying tax-paid profit 4.7% to $54.0 million in the first half and announced plans to build a new 125-room budget hotel in time for next year's Rugby World Cup. Revenue slipped to $182.9 million from $184 million. The shares were unchanged at $1.86 on Friday.

Colonial Motor  (NZX: CMO ): On Friday, the car and tractor dealership reported profit rose to $2.59 million in the first half from $2.23 million a year earlier, while revenue tumbled 19%. Used vehicle trading was little changed and interest costs dropped. The shares last traded at $2.20 on Feb. 23.

Delegat's Group (NZX: DGL ): The maker of Oyster Bay brand wines on Friday forecast a 30%-to-40% cut in full-year earnings as it prepares to write down the value of vineyards and their "biological assets" as wine industry oversupply sinks grape prices. On Friday the shares tumbled 15% to $2.27.

Opus International Consultants (NZX: OIC ): The global engineering consultancy is rated a ‘buy’ by Selwyn Blinkhorne, an analyst at Craigs Investment Partners, according to the ShareChat website. The company is well-placed to resume strong growth after halting losses in British and Australian, with a brighter outlook for infrastructure spending. While the company didn’t give guidance for 2010, its general comments suggested it was cautiously optimistic, Blinkhorne said. The shares fell 1 cent to $1.77 on Friday.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ): The phone company’s XT network outages will “negatively impact XT's brand value and de-rail the company's mobile growth aspirations,” Fitch Ratings said in a statement. “Achieving top-line revenue growth in order to meet the company's medium term earnings guidance in such an environment will be a challenge,” it said.  The shares rose 2 cents to $2.33.

Turners & Growers (NZX: TUR ): Full-year profit fell to $9.5 million in 2009 from 2008’s $14.1 million as the global recession sapped sales of fruit and vegetables and the exchange rate suffered “extreme” volatility, the company said on Friday. The shares fell 2.7% to $1.47 on Friday.

Widespread Energy (NZX: WEN ): Shares of the speculative mining investor jumped 20% to 12 cents on Friday after the company and associate Widespread Portfolios said they had been granted a prospecting permit on the Chatham Rise, allowing them to test whether the area contains an estimated 100 million tonnes of rock phosphate, which could be worth $28 billion. Widespread Portfolios (WPI) fell 11% to 15 cents on Friday.

Economic themes of the day: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported a jump in fourth-quarter profit and the billionaire predicted the US housing market slump will end in 2011.

Data was mixed in the US on Friday – the world’s biggest economy grew at a 5.9% annual pace in fourth quarter, up from an initial estimate of 5.7%, while separate figures showed a sharp drop in sales of previously owned homes last month.

Stocks on Wall Street ended the week higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average edging up 0.04%.

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