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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Thursday 11th December 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: Figures today in Australia may show that economy shed jobs while the unemployment rate rose, a sign that demand may weaken in New Zealand's biggest export market. Crude oil for January delivery rose 2.4% to US$43.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, leading a rally in commodities, on optimism the automakers' rescue will help underpin economic growth and demand for fuel. The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials climbed more than 3%.

Fletcher Building (FBU): Shares of the construction company that owns the US based Formica brand of laminated building board rose 3 cents to $5.65. The company is the biggest seller of laminated board in Australia and demand may wane as that economy slows.

ING New Zealand (ING): The shares fell 1.5% to 65 cents yesterday after the fund manager announced plans to wind up two distressed credit funds which owe investors more than $500 million and have been suspended for most of the year. ING's shareholders will provide a $100 million loan to provide investors with cash immediately.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The government is looking for bidders for new petroleum exploration permits in the East Cape and Northland basins. The basins have already attracted international interest, and bidding will close in January 2010. NZOG stock last traded at $1.24 and has gained 10% in the past 12 months.

NZX (NZX): The Board of the Bond Exchange of South Africa has recommended shareholders accept a 125 rand per share offer from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, up from the original offer price in October of 90 rand. The new offer matches an independent valuation of the shares, it said. NZX is the largest BESA shareholder with a stake of about 22%, acquired in October at a cost of 73.17 rand a share. The shares rose 2 cents to $5.47 yesterday and are down about 48% this year.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): Bill Barney, chief executive of undersea cable operator Pacnet, has confirmed the company is interested in buying Telecom's underperforming Australian subsidiary AAPT, saying it would fit well with the company's strategy. Telecom stock last traded at $2.38 and has fallen more than 45% in the past 12 months.

By Jonathan Underhill

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