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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Monday 4th August 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: Shares fell on Wall Street on Friday, after General Motors reported a US$15.5 billion quarterly loss. The opposition National Party would increase spending on infrastructure by NZ$4.5 billion to stoke the economy, leader John Key said at the weekend. Meantime, government figures may show wages posted record annual growth in the second quarter.

Briscoe Group (BGR): The retailer today said a "strong finish" to trading in the second quarter meant first-half profit was probably at the top end of the NZ$2 million to NZ$3 million range it predicted on June 26. The June statement marked the second forecast cut in as many months. First-half sales fell 4.4% to NZ$190.3 million, it said. Same-store sales dropped 7.5%. The stock fell 18% in the past three months and was at NZ$1.03 on Friday.

Contact Energy (CEN): Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc approached Contact's parent, Origin Energy about jointly developing the Australian energy company's coal seam gas assets, the UK's Sunday Telegraph reported. That could derail BG Group Plc's hostile A$13.8 billion bid for Origin, the newspaper said. BG has said it would sell the half stake in Contact if it succeeds in acquiring Origin. Contact has gained about 10% in the past month.

Dominion Finance (DFH): The finance company whose stock was suspended last month because it hasn't filed its annual report said on Friday it was developing a recapitalisation plan that would result in "significant" further funds being injected into the group. It hopes to present the proposal to investors by the end of September. Prior to being suspended, the stock tumbled 85% in three months and changed hands at 13.5 cents on July 7.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil rose $1.02 to $125.10 a barrel in New York on Friday after Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said Iran was heading toward a major breakthrough in its nuclear program. NZOG last week said annual revenue soared to NZ$234.6 million from NZ$4.2 million on its share of production from the Tui oil field. The stock has gained 41% this year.

Telecom (TEL): The biggest company on the NZX 50 Index is scheduled to release its full-year results on Friday. Net income in the first nine months of the year fell 23% to $537 million and the company has said annual earnings will decline. The stock has gained 12% in the past month.

Vector (VCT): The utility that sold its Wellington network to Hong Kong interests for NZ$758 million, plans to buy back about 2.5% of its stock to bolster the price, it said on Friday. Details of the buyback will be announced after its annual results on August 27, it said. The stock rose 3.2% on Friday.

By Jonathan Underhill

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