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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Friday 28th 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: ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, plans to eliminate as many as 9,000 jobs, or 3% of its global workforce, reflecting a drop in demand as the global economy slows. Stocks in Europe extended their advance and the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index rose 2,4% to 203.62 on optimism government efforts to underpin the region’s economies and support its banks are starting to gain traction. Trading in New Zealand shares may be subdued as US financial markets were closed for Thanksgiving Day.
   
Air New Zealand (AIR): The airline issued a statement confirming an Airbus A320 owned by the company and leased to Germany’s XL Airways for two-and-a-half years crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. The plane had undergone maintenance and was due to return to service in New Zealand at the end of the week. The company's stock has fallen 55% over the last 12 months, and was at 86 cents yesterday.
 
Allied Farmers (ALF): Chief financial officer William Giesbers resigned yesterday after two years in the job. He is the third executive to leave in the past two months though he will continue with some consultancy work. In October, former chief executive David Bale resigned after two years and was replaced this month by Paul Macfie. Philip Anstey, general manager of the rural division, leaves on November 30. The stock rose 5 cents to 85 cents yesterday and has tumbled 30% in the past month.
   
Fletcher Building (FBU): Chief executive Jonathan Ling has the full backing of the construction company’s board, chairman Rod Deane said yesterday, according to the Dominion Post. The comment follows reports that some company executives opposed last year’s acquisition of the Formica business. The shares rose 2.3% to $5.70 yesterday and have declined 50% this year.
  
Mowbray Collectables (MOW): The company yesterday reported profit rose to $69,594 in the first half, from $67,718 a year earlier. The New Zealand core business of stamp and coin sales traded in line with budget, it said. Export sales rose, helped by the weakening New Zealand dollar, it said. The stock traded at $1.25 yesterday and is down 30% this year.
 
Oyster Bay Marlborough Vineyards (OBV): Chairman Bill Falconer told shareholders at their annual meeting this week that he plans to retire. The stock last traded at $2.80 on November 24 and is up about 4% this year.

Rakon (RAK): The shares jumped 13 cents to $1.32 yesterday, having slumped 40% in a month. The stock tumbled 24% on November 14 after the navigation technology company posted a 66% drop in first-half profit and said second-half earnings would be about the same of less amid weaker world demand.
   
Warehouse Group (WHS): Chairman Keith Smith said the company has decided to defer any capital management options because of instability in financial markets. He told shareholders at their annual meeting that Warehouse faced difficult trading conditions in the first quarter of the current year, with margins little changed from a year earlier. The stock rose 2 cents to $2.52 yesterday and has fallen about 38% this year.
   
Widespread Energy (WEN): Widespread Energy posted a first-half loss of $78,000 for the six months to September 30, down 17% from the same period last year. The company is focusing its operations on its Chatham Rise rock phosphate project and petroleum exploration permits at Kotuku and on the West Coast. Its share price has fallen over 45% in the last 12 months and was last at 80 cents on November 17.

By Jonathan Underhill



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