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Stocks to watch: Mainfreight, Sanford, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Telecom, AIA, WFD

Thursday 27th May 2010

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F&P Healthcare posts a 15% gain in profit and Mainfreight reports an increase in full-year profit.  Sanford's first-half profit tumbles 79% as skipjack tuna and mussel prices fall.  Telecom will be under scrutiny from analysts today with its investor day in Sydney, where all of the company’s top executives will be presenting.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ): The manufacturer posted a 15% gain in full-year profit to $71.6 million and forecast 2011 profit of between $70 million and $75 million. It predicts sales will grow by about 11% this year as it introduces its new range of ICON flow generators, ramps up research and development, bolsters sales and distribution teams and expands manufacturing capacity in New Zealand and Mexico. The shares fell 4.4% to $3.25 yesterday, a two-month low.

Mainfreight  (NZX: MFT ): The biggest trucking company on the NZX 50 reported a 2.5% increase in full-year profit even as revenue dropped, as it cut costs and took less in charges than a year earlier. The shares rose 1 cent to $5.99.

Sanford  (NZX: SAN ): The NZX-listed fishing company, posted a 79% slump in first-half profit on weaker prices for skipjack tuna and mussels, while saying there are early signs markets will improve in the second six months of the year. Net income fell to $5.4 million in the six months ended March 31, from $26 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. Sales declined 18.6% to $185.9 million. The shares rose 0.2% to $4.46 yesterday.

Telecom  (NZX: TEL ): The phone company is considering the structural separation of its network business, a sign it is serious about bidding for the lion’s share of the government’s $1.5 billion broadband rollout. Separation would risk a cut to Telecom’s A credit rating, Standard & Poor’s said last week. The shares rose 2.7% to $1.90 yesterday, having sunk to a two-decade low this week.

Auckland International Airport  (NZX: AIA ): Continental Airlines plans to become the third airline offering non-stop flights between New Zealand and North America, with a daily Auckand-Houston route set to begin in November. Continental will use Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner plane. Shares in the national gateway were unchanged at $1.83.

Wakefield Health  (NZX: WFD ): The private hospital operator said a meeting of shareholders of Norfolk Investments unexpectedly failed to garner enough support for Wakefield’s takeover offer, which would give it a 60% stake in Tauranga’s Grace Hospital. Wakefield said it is now evaluating its options. The shares were unchanged at $7.35 yesterday.


Economic themes of the day: Risk aversion calmed down after the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development raised its forecasts for global growth, soothing investors' fears about the ongoing fears over Europe's sovereign debt crisis.

Stocks on Wall Street edged higher amid the calmer outlook, underpinned by strong housing and manufacturing surveys.

The kiwi dollar sank after the International Monetary Fund said it was overvalued by between 10% and 25%, prompting a kneejerk sell-off in the currency to 66.29 US cents.

New Zealand probably reported a trade surplus of $455 million last month with export receipts of some $3.6 billion, according to a Reuters survey.

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