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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Tuesday 18th November 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: The US recession is poised to sink into recession following Japan's, which was confirmed to be in a contraction by figures yesterday in Tokyo. Citigroup Inc. plans to slash 50,000 jobs in a further sign of the damage caused by the financial crisis. Manufacturing in New York shrank this month at a record pace on dwindling orders and sales. In New Zealand, government figures are expected to show the pace of growth in producer input and output prices has slowed, reflecting the nation's economic slump.

Abano Healthcare Group (ABA): The specialist medical clinic company yesterday said it acquired Insight Radiology, a 4D Ultrasound Obstetric practice with two clinics in Auckland. Abano also bought a further three dental practices via its Dental Partners business in Australia. The shares fell 0.4% to $4.55 yesterday and have gained 10% in the past month.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances (FPA): The appliance manufacturer yesterday said it completed the sale of its Mosgiel site to Fonterra Co-operative Group after shifting production overseas. Property sales including Mosgiel, and a site at East Tamaki will generate proceeds of about NZ$34.7 million, after costs, in the second half of the current fiscal year. A gain on sale of about $8.5 million after tax will be realized from the transactions, it said. The company is also trying to sell a site at Cleveland, Australia. The shares fell 2% to $1.38 yesterday and have dropped 60% this year.

Guinness Peat Group (GPG): The investment group today said it is bearing up well in the face of the global turmoil, though its biggest subsidiary, the threadmaker Coats, will be hurt in the second half of the year by the decline in the European crafts market. Over the last 12 months, GPG's share price has fallen over 45%. It is currently trading 95 cents.

Lion Nathan (LNN): Coca-Cola Amatil late yesterday knocked back Lion's offer to acquire the company for at least A$7.6 billion in stock and cash. Amatil said in a statement that 30% owner, Coca-Cola Co. of the US deemed the proposal as "not attractive" with conditions needing to be fulfilled. Lion traded at $10.20 on the NZX yesterday and has declined 5% this year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil fell to near a 21 month low on the prospects of waning demand as the global economy slumps. Crude for December delivery fell 3.2% to US$55.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Postie Plus Group (PPG): Postie Plus reported a full-year loss of $10.9 million for the year ended 31 July, with margins squeezed as it tried to boost sales. In its annual report out today, Chairman Peter van Rij cautiously predicted a modest profit in 2009, due to the company's "lower cost structure and integrated retail system." The stock traded at 33 cents yesterday and is down 55% this year.

Rakon (RAK): The manufacturer of components for navigation systems tumbled for a second day after reporting, on Friday, a 66% decline in first-half profit on operating losses in France and weaker world demand as the global economy slows. The shares fell 11% to $1.11 yesterday after slumping 26% on Friday.

By Jonathan Underhill

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