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Stocks to watch: CEN, GPG, NZX, PEB, SKT, TEL

Thursday 17th June 2010

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Contact Energy customer levels are at a seven-year low, GPG share remain steady after its restructuring announcement yesterday, while NZX has completed an acquisition of Grain Intelligence Unit and Pacific Edge is planning commercial growth.

Contact Energy (CEN): The biggest power company on the stock exchange managed to keep its customer numbers stable last month after 4,500 people took their business elsewhere in the two months prior, though its electricity customers are still at a seven-year low. The shares fell 0.8% to $5.84 in trading yesterday.

Guinness Peat Group (GPG): The investment group chaired by Ron Brierley yesterday announced plans to spin off its Australian assets into a separate listed company, and restructure the rest of the business in preparation to float its Coats unit. The shares were unchanged at 66 cents yesterday.

NZX (NZX): The stock exchange operator said it has completed the acquisition of Australian-based Grain Intelligence Unit with the purchase of assets of Callum Downs Commodity News, which produces subscription newsletters on grain and wool. “Bringing Callum Downs into our grain sector offering is evidence of NZX’s commitment to the Australian grain markets, and our confidence in the prospects of those markets,” said chief executive Mark Weldon. The shares fell 1 cent to $1.48 yesterday.

Pacific Edge (PEB): The biotech company said shareholders will be able to participate in its commercial growth with the introduction of a Share Purchase Plan. The maximum investment will be $15,000. The shares were unchanged at 25 cents yesterday.

Sky Network Television (SKT): The shares climbed 4.8% to $5.02 yesterday after major shareholder Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. offered to buy the remainder of British pay-TV operator BskyB. “There are clear signs that News Corp. is getting better control of its operations and looking to the future and generating better returns from owing the beast,” said Alan Moore of Milford Asset Investment.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): Major mobile rival Vodafone NZ says the Commerce Commission’s recommendation to regulate the fees carriers charge each other will delay cheaper pricing, the NBR reported. The regulator said a Vodafone pricing plan was indicative of the lengths incumbents will go to protect their market share. Telecom’s share price rose 2 cents to $1.92 yesterday.

Themes of the day: The ANZ Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence survey is due out today after the release yesterday of the Westpac McDermott Miller survey showed consumers are growing more confident about the economy and their own circumstances and are more willing to buy big-ticket items. Shares on Wall Street ended the session little changed after mixed economic data, with a slump in home building and a jump in industrial output.

Businesswire.co.nz



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