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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Friday 5th September 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: US stocks tumbled after a report showed rising unemployment claims, stoking concern about a slowdown in the world's biggest economy. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 3%. New Zealand's dollar weakened overnight to about 67 US cents.

Auckland International Airport (AIA): The nation's busiest gateway today announced the appointment of Jason Dale as chief financial officer. The 39-year-old is currently chief executive of Equity Partners Asset Management. The shares fell 1.9% to NZ$2.03 yesterday and have declined 35% in the past 12 months.

Canterbury Building Society (CBS): New Zealand's only publicly traded building society named Bryan Inch as chief executive officer, replacing David Street, starting October 13. Inch was a Sydney-based executive at Rabobank Group. The shares last traded on September 1 at NZ$4.10 on the NZAX market and have declined 30% this year.

NZX (NZX): The stock exchange operator yesterday named Andrew Harmos as chairman. Harmos said there is "reason for optimism in terms of growth of listings," according to an interview with The New Zealand Herald. "Our markets don't reflect the strength of our rural sector, the strength and opportunities inherent in our infrastructure sector." The shares rose 1.6% to NZ$6.97 yesterday and have fallen 22% this year.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): The biggest company on the NZX 50 Index said it won't proceed with its dividend reinvestment plan and on-market share buyback this quarter because it is evaluating the opportunity to accelerate the delivery of national WCDMA broadband mobile coverage. Telecom shares fell to NZ$3.12 yesterday, near a 15-year low, and have declined 30% in the past 12 months.

Vector (VCT): The Commerce Commission today said it won't accept offers of undertaking from Vector and Powerco over their gas distribution networks. The regulator is seeking submissions prior to making an authorisation next month. Vector traded at NZ$2.26 yesterday and has gained 2% this year.

Widespread Portfolios (WID): The company said Asian Mineral Resources, its biggest investment, is on target for commissioning of its Ban Phuc Nickel-Copper project in north Vietnam in the second quarter of 2009. The company is in talks to finance the additional US$45 million needed to complete the project. Widespread last traded at 40 cents on September 2 and has jumped from as little as 2 cents in early July.

By Jonathan Underhill



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