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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Friday 21st November 2008

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Themes of the day: Stocks on Wall Street declined after reports showing rising jobless claims and waning manufacturing output stoked concern the world’s biggest economy is heading for a prolonged slump. In New Zealand, Fonterra Cooperative Group is expected to lower its milk payment for farmers today in another sigh that the global economic slump and weakening commodity prices will weigh on New Zealand’s growth.

Air New Zealand (AIR): The national carrier’s to form an alliance with Air Canada on routes between Australia and Canada was vetoed by Australia’s antitrust regulator. Air New Zealand this week said it would cut 200 workers, half from long-haul cabin crews, because of a drop in demand. The stock fell 2.3% to 87 cents yesterday.

Goodman Fielder (GFF): The Australian baker and food ingredients group said first-half profit may decline 15% because of higher commodity costs. In the second half, the company expects to see “the benefit of retreating commodity pricing and we expect the company to exit the year in a solid position,” said chairman Max Ould. The NZX-listed shares last traded on November 19 at $1.80 and have gained 10% in the past month.

Lyttelton Port (LPC): Shares of the port company will have a delayed start to trading after the NZX announced a stand in the market by brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene. The shares were at $2.25 yesterday, valuing the company at $230 million. The brokerage is seeking up to 2.5 million shares, or 2.5% on issue, in the port company for $2.75 a share for client Christchurch City Holdings.

Mainfreight (MFT): The trucking firm posted a 10% gain in first-half profit and lifted its dividend after benefiting from the contribution from acquired businesses and lower fuel costs. Sales jumped 63% to $625 million. The shares fell 13 cents to $4.32 yesterday and have dropped 35% this year.
 
New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil fell below US$50 a barrel for the first time in two years in New York. The stock fell 1 cents to $1.19 yesterday and is up 5% this year.

Pumpkin Patch (PPL): The children’s clothing chain has tumbled for three straight days since chief executive Maurice Prendergast said 2009 earnings would weaken after an “extremely difficult” first quarter. The shares fell fell 5.6% to 85 cents yesterday and are down 65% this year.



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