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Stocks to watch: Economic news little tonic for market

Thursday 28th October 2010

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Economic news will be little tonic to the sharemarket today. The Reserve Bank kept the official cash rate at 3% saying cautious household behaviour meant consumer spending and housing market activity "remain muted, meanwhile stocks fell on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4%, amid speculation the Federal Reserve next round of stimulation for the world's biggest economy won't be as big as had been expected. In the New Zealand market news from stocks like Abano and Pike River have interested investors.

Abano Healthcare (ABA): The specialist health-care clinic investor will return $27.3 million to shareholders by cancelling one in every four shares held. Shareholders are to get $5.23 for each cancelled share. The capital return requires shareholder approval at the annual meeting on Nov. 30. The shares were unchanged yesterday at $5.25. 

Pike River Coal (PRC): New Zealand Oil Gas, Pike's biggest shareholder, told its own investors yesterday that Pike is still worth supporting despite production repeated delays with its hydro mining operations. NZOG's exposure to Pike is $85 million and it booked $11.5 million in the last year as its share of the coal miner's losses. Pike rose 1.9% to $1.05 and NZ Oil & Gas (NZO) rose 1.6% to $1.31. 

Air New Zealand (AIR): The airline reported that it carried 7.4% more passengers during the month of September than last year, boosted by an 8.2% uptick in short haul numbers. A rebound in tourism helped the sector eclipse dairy products as the biggest exporter earner in the year to March 31, according to government figures. The shares were unchanged at $1.34 yesterday. 

ANZ  (ANZ): Shares of New Zealand's biggest lender were halted pending the Australian bank's earnings. The shares rose 20 cents to $31.60 yesterday.

Kirkcaldie & Stains (KRK): The upscale department store owner posted a 10% drop in pre-tax earnings to $1.37 million for the 12 months ended Aug. 31. A deferred tax liability meant it reported a net loss of $1.86 million. Separately, family interests of businessman Selwyn Cushing lifted their stake in the retailer to almost 13%, according to disclosures yesterday. The shares traded at $2.70 yesterday. 

NZX (NZX): The exchange reported a 33% increase in underlying earnings in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, while operating revenue climbed to $12.1 million from $12.08 million. The company focused on the changes from the immediately prior period rather than the year earlier period and presented its results for the first time based on four operating divisions. The shares fell 3 cents to $1.56 yesterday.

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