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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Monday 1st December 2008

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The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading Friday.

Themes of the day: Stocks on Wall Street ended the week higher, helping the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index round out its biggest weekly gain since 1974 after Citigroup won federal financial aid and automakers rebounded. In New Zealand, exporters are calling for a central bank rate cut of 200 basis points and economists say a 150 point cut is becoming more likely on December 4.

Air New Zealand (AIR):
The cockpit voice recorder from the Airbus A320 that crashed off the coast of France has been recovered and will be sent to Paris for examination. The company's share price is at 89 cents and has fallen almost 52% this year.
Dorchester Pacific (DPC):
the finance company posted a net loss of $35 million for the six months ended September 30, from a year earlier profit of $3.1 million. The loss includes a $21 million writedown of its holding in St Laurence and additional provisions of $11.5 million. Dorchester is seeking investor approval for its deferred repayment plan and said today it risks receivership of liquidation is the plan isn’t approved. The stock last traded on November 27 at 20 cents and is down 79% this year.
Pike River Coal (PRC): Chief executive Gordon Ward told shareholders at their annual meeting on Friday that spot prices for hard coking coal has dropped “quite significantly,” hurting the shares of coal mining companies. The shares fell 1% to $1 and are down 30% this year.
SmartPay (SPY): The company on Friday posted a first-half net loss of $2.4 million and said the results don’t yet reflect the benefits of a recent restructuring programme. Sales fell to $17.6 million from $20.8 million. The stock traded at 0.7 cents on Friday and has dropped 80% this year.
Warehouse Group (WHS): The discount retailer is preparing to open more stores, betting that its brand is less susceptible to the economic downturn. Managing director Ian Morrice told shareholders at their annual meeting that the company plans to increase its red shed stores to more than 100 in the next five years, from 85 now. The stock rose 3% to $3.63 on Friday.



By Jonathan Underhill

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