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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Thursday 10th July 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 New Zealand dollar rose to above 76 US cents as the price of oil halted its decline amid reports about missile testing by Iran. US stocks tumbled, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index into a bear market. At home, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings cut its profit forecast, saying high food, fuel and borrowing costs were deterring consumers from spending. In Europe, figures showed GDP in the 15-nation region grew a less-than-previously-predicted 0.7% in the first three months of the year.

Contact Energy (CEN): Brokerage Forsyth Barr said in a report this week that stock prices have been oversold on concern about high inflation and a shrinking economy. Companies such as Contact, Ryman Healthcare (RYM) and Freightways Ltd (FRE) are trading at excessive discounts, it said. Contact, the biggest energy company of the NZX 50 Index, fell 1.3% to NZ$7.62 yesterday and has dropped 7.6% this year.

Fletcher Building Ltd (FBU): US stocks fell amid concern mortgage lenders won’t survive a slump in the housing market. Shares of Fletcher, the owner of US-based Formica, which makes laminates for kitchens and bathrooms, surged 3% to NZ$6.73 yesterday and has almost halved in value since October.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings (HLG): The clothing chain said profit will fall about 30% this year as high mortgage costs and soaring prices for food and fuel deter consumers from spending.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil was little changed at $136.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil futures have slid more than 6% in the past two days. NZOG, the company with a 12.5% interest in the Tui oilfield, fell 1.2% to NZ$1.70 yesterday and touched a record NZ$1.91 on July 2.

Plus SMS Holdings (PLS): the company said today that all 22 million of its July 2008 share options have lapsed because they weren’t exercised. Some 2.9 million December 2009 options also lapsed.

By Jonathan Underhill

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