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Stocks to watch: Air NZ, Auckland Airport, NZO, NWF, WHS

Tuesday 23rd March 2010

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Air New Zealand's fit-out business wins a $35 million contract and Auckland International Airport reports international passenger volumes rose last month. New Zealand Windfarms' chief executive will be departing and crude oil recovers from near a three-week low.

Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ): The airline’s private jet interior fit-out business, Altitude, won a contract for up to $35 million to fit out a luxury Boeing business jet, the Dominion Post reported. The shares were unchanged yesterday at $1.30.

Auckland International Airport (NZX: AIA ): The nation’s busiest gateway yesterday said international passenger volumes rose 4.6% to 551,086 last month from a year earlier, a sign that global demand for air travel may be reviving. “If the world feels wealthier, they’re going to travel more,” said Paul Robertshawe, who helps manage $750 million at Tower Asset Management.  A weak kiwi dollar against its Australian counterpart is luring more visitors from across the Tasman. The shares fell 2.1% to $1.91 yesterday.

New Zealand Oil & Gas  (NZX: NZO ): Crude oil recovered from near a three-week low as stocks on Wall Street rose and the greenback weakened. The shares fell 0.6% to $1.56 yesterday

New Zealand Windfarms (NZX: NWF ): The windfarm developer said yesterday that chief executive Steve Cross won’t renew his contract when it expires on June 30. The departure throws another question mark over the company, which on Friday announced plans to raise $34.1 million in an eight-for-three cash issue at 15 cents apiece to enable it to keep operating. The shares were unchanged at a record low 32 cents yesterday.

Pike River Coal (NZX: PRC ): Coal prices are likely to extend there gains this year on increasing demand from Asia, Michael Dudas, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg News. “We’re going to see a strong recovery in both metallurgical and steam coals,” he said. Pike shares dropped 2.2% to 88 cents yesterday.

Warehouse Group (NZX: WHS ): The retailer is rated ‘marketperform’ by ASB Securities analyst Florian Burch, according to the ShareChat website. Warehouse’s guidance for normalised full-year earnings is similar to last year's $85.2 million profit, suggesting it expects a pickup in the second half. The company sees the recent improvement in consumer confidence as uncertain, as the jobless rate is still high. The shares rose 0.8% to $3.93 yesterday.

Economic themes of the day: Stocks rose on Wall Street after President Barack Obama succeeded in pushing through his health-care reforms, removing that uncertainty from the market. The kiwi dollar pared its losses, to trade recently at 70.48 cents.

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