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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Friday 17th October 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: Stocks in the US staged a late rally as the price of oil slipped below US$70 a barrel, easing the burden on household incomes from fuel and lifting consumer stocks such as Wal-Mart Stores. US industrial output tumbled 6% in the third quarter, the biggest decline since 1991, adding to signs of recession in the world's biggest economy.

GuocoLeisure (GLL): The company, a unit of Hong Leong Group, posted a 24% gain in profit to US$17.7 million. The company that changed its name from BIL International and was once known as Brierley owns the Thistle hotel chain in the UK the shares fell 2 cents to 42 cents yesterday and has dropped 50% this year.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZS): Director Craig Norgate told shareholders at their annual meeting yesterday
that he expects global prices for dairy products to rise next year on demand from China, India and oil-producing nations. The stock was at NZ$1.15 yesterday.

Pumpkin Patch (PPL): The children's clothing chain said 2009 will be more difficult than 2008, with difficult trading conditions in UK and US hurting earnings, chief executive Maurice Prendergast said in the company's annual report. The shares fell 7.1% to NZ$1.05 yesterday and have declined 60% this year.

Telecom (TEL): The biggest company on the benchmark index yesterday fell 5.8% to a 16-year low of NZ$2.43 after lowering its 2009 earnings forecast because of costs to roll out its 3G services fast enough to beat rival Vodafone.

Warehouse Group (WHS): Australia's Woolworths withdrew a court challenge to a ruling against it acquiring Warehouse. The supermarket chain could now reapply to the Commerce Commission to have its application cleared, a course of action the regulator suggested last week. Warehouse stock gained 0.9% to NZ$3.57 yesterday, while the benchmark index tumbled more than 5%. Warehouse has risen 9% in the past month.

By Jonathan Underhill

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