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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Thursday 28th August 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: New Zealand business confidence improved this month, according to National Bank's Business Outlook survey, pointing to signs of life in an economy that probably shrank in the first half of the year. Wall Street gained overnight in the third straight US advance, though trading volumes were light ahead of US Labor Day holiday weekend.

Allied Farmers (ALF): The company yesterday reported full-year pretax earnings of $3.2 million from a year-earlier loss of $3.3 million. Earnings at its Allied Nationwide finance unit were hurt by increased provisions for bad debts. Its reinvestment rate was 34%. The stock was unchanged yesterday at NZ$1.28.

Delegat's Group (DGL): The maker of Oyster Bay wines today said full-year profit jumped 77% to NZ$19 million and sales rose 23% to a record NZ$165 million. The company had previous flagged the profit gain. Delegat's stock has gained almost 9% in the past month and changed hands at NZ$2.23 yesterday.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): The biggest company on the NZX 50 Index said it has appointed Kevin Roberts as a director. Roberts is currently worldwide head of advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi. Telecom traded at NZ$3.24 yesterday and has tumbled 26% this year.

Vector (VCT): New Zealand's biggest distributor of electricity and natural gas is interested in competing with Telecom to build a fibre-optic network in Auckland. The company yesterday reported a 30% drop in full-year profit on year-earlier tax adjustments. The stock rose 2.6% to NZ$2.36 yesterday.

Warehouse Group (WHS): Supermarket co-operative Foodstuffs won't appeal against a court ruling preventing it from bidding for the retailer, managing director Tony Carter said. Rival bidder Woolworths doers plan an appeal and Foodstuffs hasn't given up on Warehouse, Carter said. Warehouse fell three cents to NZ$3.35 yesterday and has dropped about 15% in the past month.

Xero (XRO): The online accounting software company said it formed a partnership with Acclipse, which has accounting management and tax software. Xero stock trades infrequently and was at 80 cents on August 26, little changed from a year ago.

By Jonathan Underhill

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