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Stocks to watch: Comvita, Fletcher, LPC, NZO, NZX, OGC

Friday 30th April 2010

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Comvita shares jump nearly 10% on reports that its full-year net profit will climb, NZX says it is launching a new local authority debt index with ANZ. OceanaGold shares drop on falling profit reports and Lyttelton Port Co continues to negotiate a merger with Port of Otago.


Comvita  (NZX: CVT ): The healthcare products company said full-year net profit will climb to $4.9 million from $800,000 a year earlier, as sales rise to $85 million from $71.4 million. The improved guidance reflects a continuing strong trend in sales growth. The stock jumped 9.8% to $2.25 yesterday.

Fletcher Building  (NZX: FBU ): New Zealand’s largest building products company is rated a ‘hold’ by Craigs Investment Partners analyst David Oxley. The company reaffirmed its annual profit forecast of $278 million and $303 million even after lowering guidance for its Australian insulation unit reflecting the federal government’s halt to its subsidised programme. Oxley raised his full-year forecast to $298.2 million from $293.5 million, reflecting “a more robust near-term recovery in residential construction markets than we had forecast, particularly in New Zealand." He lowered his 2011 forecast to $369.1 million from $377.8 million, reflecting the Australian insulation cut. The shares fell 5 cents to $8.35 yesterday.

Lyttelton Port Co. (NZX: LPC ): The South Island’s largest port company said its major shareholder, Christchurch City Holdings, is “in principle supportive” of the proposed operational merger with Port of Otago. LPC will now continue to negotiate with Otago on terms of a merger, which would require regulator approval and support of shareholders. The shares rose 6.5% to $2.45 yesterday.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZX: NZO ): The Kupe field contributed to the company’s revenue for the first time in the three months ended March 31. The 15%-owned field provided $13 million in the latest quarter, according to NZOG’s operating statistics. The shares fell 1 cent yesterday to $1.54.

NZX  (NZX: NZX ): The exchange operator said it is launching the ANZ Local Authority Bond Index, or LAB, with ANZ Bank. The ANZ LAB Index provides a benchmark for issuance of local authority debt, which is forecast to rise to $10.6 billion by July 2019. The shares climbed 2.8% to $1.85 yesterday.

OceanaGold  (NZX: OGC ): The operator of the Macraes gold field said profit fell to US$1.8 million in the three months ended March 31, from US$9.1 million a year earlier. Production fell 22% to 65,291 ounces, reflecting maintenance work and lower-grade material. The stock dropped 12 cents to $3.40 yesterday.


Economic themes of the day: Shares rallied on Wall Street amid optimism Greece will bring forward the timing of is aid package and companies including Chinese internet search company Baidu Inc., Visa Inc. and Motorola Inc. posted earnings that beat some estimates.

The Kiwi dollar held above 72 US cents as investors’ risk appetite rose.

Building consents data out today for March will show whether approvals continued February’s gains, when they rose 5.9%.

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