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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Tuesday 16th December 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: The Reserve Bank of Australia releases minutes of its meeting this month, where it cut its benchmark rate a greater than expected 100 basis points. Stocks weakened on Wall Street after figures showed dwindling confidence among homebuilders and a drop in manufacturing.

Botry-Zen (BOZ): The unprofitable maker of biological control agents said it has changed its mind about delisting and will now switch from the NZX's main board to the NZAX market for small caps and start-ups. The company yesterday named Stephen Lorimer as general and technical manager starting next year. Some 100,000 of the shares changed hands yesterday at 1.7 cents.

Hellaby Holdings (HBY): Shares of the diversified investment company have dropped 19% in the past two trading days after it said pretax earnings may fall as much as 26% this year on weakening demand for auto-parts, construction equipment and shrinking margins on shoes. The stock fell 4% to $1.18 yesterday.

Michael Hill international (MHI): The jewelry chain will relocate to Australia under a transaction where it plans to sell its intellectual property to its subsidiary across the Tasman Sea. The move will create tax benefits and lift 2009 profit by $59 million as the company faces squeezed margins and difficult trading conditions, it said. The shares were unchanged at 60 cents yesterday and have fallen about 50% this year.

National Property Trust (NPT): Kevin Podmore, chairman of the trust's manager, said the property investor is looking at several strategic options and will provide
investors with an update on the outcome of the Strategic Review following its conclusion, which is expected to be early in 2009. The trust's units rose 2.5% to 41 cents yesterday.

Richina Pacific (RPL): The company proposing to delist its stock and split into four separately traded units said trading in its shares "has been at minimal levels." "We believe the nature and location of the company's businesses and assets are better suited to a corporate organisation and structure that is more private equity oriented," chairman John Walker told shareholders yesterday. The stocks was unchanged yesterday at 40 cents and is down 20% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill

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