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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Monday 3rd November 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: New Zealand will offer a wholesale funding guarantee facility to investment-grade financial institutions, putting the nation in step with Australia and helping banks source their overseas funding. Stocks on Wall Street gained on Friday, trimming the extent of the worst monthly slump since the 1987 stock market crash. Oil staged a late rally in New York, rising 2.8%

New Zealand Wine Co. (NWC) The NZAX listed company, which posted record sales and profit last financial year, said the weaker New Zealand dollar will help lift export returns. The company is proposing launching a new wine brand for the UK in lightweight bottles that reduce the 'carbon footprint' of the product. The stock trades infrequently and last changed hands on October 10 at $2.25.

Lyttelton Port Co. (LPC): The biggest port company in the South Island last week said it agreed to start talks about a merger with Port Otago, a move that may spur more such mergers. Port of Tauranga is awaiting a proposal from Ports of Auckland for its container terminals business. The shares traded at $2.25 on Friday.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude for December delivery rose 2.8% to US$67.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday. The company last week acquired a 40% stake in an exploration permit off the Canterbury coast and said it has some NZ$245 million for new acquisitions. NZOG traded at $1.29 on Friday and is down 1% in the past month.

Pike River Coal (PRC): The company tunneling for coal in the South Island raised its annual capex budget by NZ$23 million to $246 million because of construction and equipment costs, the company said on Friday.

TrustPower (TPW): The utility controlled by Infratil today posted a 4% gain in first-half profit and said it will sell as much as $100 million of bonds to replace maturing debt. The company said TrustPower's business fundamentals are "sound" and it will probably report a "satisfactory annual result." The stock traded at $7.40 on Friday and has fallen 14% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill

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