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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Monday 14th July 2008

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The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading on Friday.

Themes of the day: Figures today may show New Zealand retail sales weakened in May and could deteriorate further as the economy contracts. In the US last week, the Nasdaq composite index and the Standard & Poor’s 500 had their sixth weekly decline.

Austral Pacific Energy (APX): The oil explorer said drilling results at its Cheal-A7 well, which reached a total depth of 1848 metres on July 10, intercepted 7 meters of oil-bearing sands. Results from the A7 well may “significantly increase” output from the field in the short term, chief executive Jewell Austral said today.

Briscoe Group (BGR), Hallenstein Glasson Holdings (HLG), Michael Hill International (MHI), Postie Plus Group (PPG), Pumpkin Patch (PPL), Smiths City Group (SCY), Warehouse Group (WHS): Figures today may show retail sales stalled in May. Since that month, consumer confidence has sunk to a 17-year low.

Dominion Finance Holdings (DFH): The New Zealand finance company that stopped payments to debenture and note holders was expecting advice from KordaMentha any day now, before deciding on terms for the moratorium. The stock was suspended from trading by NZX Regulation last week after Dominion Finance missed deadlines for its annual report.

Fletcher Building (FBU): The biggest construction firm on the NZX 50 Index has lagged behind the benchmark this year, sliding almost 45% to the NZX 50’s 23%. New Zealand house prices rose just 0.1% in June from a year earlier, Quotable Value New Zealand said today. The report follows a Real Estate Institute survey on Friday showing June home sales fell 1.5% from May and almost halved from the same month of 2007.

Steel & Tube Holdings (STU): The supplier of building products including reinforcing steel has dropped about 31% this year.

Mr Chips Holdings (MCH): Simplot on Friday gave notice that it would make a full takeover offer for Mr Chips at NZ$2.643 per share and the entitlement to a 25.7 cents-a-share dividend. Mr Chips rose 5.1% to a record NZ$2.90 on Friday.

TrustPower (TPW): New Zealand’s fifth-largest electricity generator said 2009 earnings may rise 15%, Reuters reported, citing an interview with chief executive Keith Tempest. Analysts’ forecasts for ebitda of about NZ$240 million in the year ending March 31 are “achievable,” he said. On June 17, TrustPower said extreme low inflows into hydro lakes had reduced the company’s profit outlook.

By Jonathan Underhill

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