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Stocks to watch: Abano, DNZ Property, OceanaGold

Monday 11th October 2010

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Abano expects to lift profit in the year ending May, DNZ Property is moving to the main NZX 50 at the end of this week, while shares in OceanaGold dropped last week despite the price of gold reaching a new high.

Abano Healthcare Group (ABA): The specialist medical clinic investor is expected to lift net profit in the year ending May 31, 2011 by 31% to $4.6 million on the solid performance of its dental division, according to Craigs Investment Partners, quoted on the ShareChat website. Abano has added 50 dental practices in New Zealand since 2005 and 29 in Australia since 2008. The broker said that while the business will struggle to replace its successful New Zealand Bay Audiology business, significant growth potential remains in Asia. Shares were unchanged on Friday at $5.25. 

DNZ Property Fund (DNZ): The property investor will move to the main NZX 50 Index at the end of the week, replacing NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZS), which leaves the benchmark index after Olam International picked up a 78% stake. Shares of the fund rose 2.7% on Friday to $1.16. 

OceanaGold (OGC): Gold prices surged to a new record high of US$1,345 an ounce, reflecting the broadly weaker US dollar. Shares in the gold miner fell 1.8% on Friday to $4.90.

Lyttelton Port (LPC): The South Island port company said the full cost of earthquake damage won't be known for three months though it is likely to exceed original estimates. Chief executive Peter Davie said he would be "surprised if it's lower than $50 million." The shares were unchanged at $2.44 on Friday. 

Scott Technologies (SCT): The Dunedin-based automated and robotic machinery maker posted earnings of $2.8 million, its best in seven years. The shares gained 4% to $1.30 on Friday. 

Telstra (TLS): The Australian telephone company may appeal a High Court ruling that allows Kordia to upgrade a fibre-optic network jointly owned by the two firms, according to press reports. The ruling could cut the cost of broadband by paving the way for Kordia, a state-owned enterprise, to compete against TelstraClear in a number of cities and town in New Zealand. Shares rose 0.6% on Friday to $3.47 on the NZX. 

Westpac (WBC): Westpac Australia will cut thousands of head office and administration jobs over the next two years as it attempts to reduce costs and streamline its business, according to press reports. The lender, which is listed in Australia and New Zealand, said it will also consider the possibility of sending back-office jobs overseas. The job cuts are only expected to affect Westpac's operations in Sydney. Shares fell 0.3% on the NZX on Friday to $30.30. 

Themes of the day: On Friday US non-farm payroll data came in weaker than expected, with the world's biggest economy adding 64,000 private sector jobs in September, short of the 75,000 consensus forecast. The weaker data had increased speculation that the Federal Reserve will embark on a second round of quantitative easing, which if coupled with solid third quarter earnings from US corporates, could prove to be a shot in the arm for equity market. Both the Dow Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500 closed on Friday at their highest levels since May. Last week, the Dow increased 1.6% to 11,006.48, while the S&P 500 added 1.7% to 1,165.15. The New Zealand dollar rose to 75.60 US cents from 74.95 on Friday as the greenback continued to weaken.

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