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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Wednesday 15th October 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: Stocks in the US fell, a day after the biggest gains since the 1930s, on concern government financial rescue efforts won't prevent the world's biggest economy sinking into recession. PepsiCo posted earnings that missed estimates, cut its forecast and announced job cuts. Citigroup led financials higher on a US government plan to spend US$250 billion buying stakes in banks. In New Zealand, business leaders welcomed the government's pledge to reduce interest on provisional tax underpayments to 6.7% from 14.2%.

ANZ Bank (ANZ) and Westpac (WBC) rose yesterday after the Australian government pledged to guarantee deposits including wholesale transactions between banks. Australian lenders will benefit from the move, which will ensure they retain access to offshore capital, Fitch Ratings said. ANZ Bank shares rose 13% to NZ$20.71 on the NZX and Westpac rose 7% to NZ$25.70.

L&M Petroleum (LMP): The energy and gas explorer was rated "speculative buy" in new coverage by McDouall Stuart analyst John Kidd. In a report dated October 2 but released by the company yesterday, Kidd wrote that while still a speculative play it had "the potential to firm quickly" if it can deliver on its initial coal-seam gas find at its Goodwin-1 well in Southland. To complete its programmes may require "delicate capital management," he wrote. The shares jumped 12% to 12.9 cents yesterday and have slipped about 40% in the past month.

National Property Trust (NAP): The trust's units gained 4.6% to 46 cents yesterday, when it announced it is in talks to merge its portfolio and is weighing options ranging from raising capital to liquidating its assets. Last week the trust reported a 4.6% decline in the value of its property investments. Goodman Property Trust (GMT) last week said the value of its properties fell 3.4%. Goodman units rose 2.8% to NZ$1.10 and are down 26% this year.

Pike River Coal (PRC): Shares of the company with a coal mine in the South Island climbed 13% to NZ$1.51 yesterday. The website steelprices-china.com said coal prices have reportedly plummeted since the middle of September. Slower growth in China's economy will dampen demand for coal, according to the report.

Telecom (TEL): The biggest company on the NZX 50 Index today said it is investing NZ$574 million in its new W850 network over the next two years. Total capital spending is likely to rise to NZ$2.4 billion in that period, it said. The stock rose 10 cents to NZ$2.58 yesterday and has sunk 40% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill



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