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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Monday 20th October 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: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4% on Friday as financials slid and consumer-related shares rose. Figures tomorrow may show New Zealand inflation accelerated to 5.1% last quarter, not enough to deter the central bank from slashing the OCR by 100 basis points on Thursday.

Guinness Peat Group (GPG): Shareholders of Tower Australia approved the third and final stage of Dai-ichi Mutual Life's acquisition of almost 30% its stock, providing gain for seller GPG. The stock was unchanged at 96 cents on Friday and has tumbled 45% this year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The price of crude oil has tumbled about 50% from the record high of US$147.27 a barrel it reached in July amid speculation demand fro fuel will abate as the global economy weakens. The shares fell 4 cents to NZ$1.08 on Friday and have declined almost 35% in the past three months.

PGG Wrightson (PGW): The rural services company has already assumed procurement of livestock for Silver Fern Farms even without being able to secure the funds to settle its half stake. The meat processor's 100-strong procurement team is already working for Wrightson, Silver Fern chief executive Keith Cooper said, according to the Sunday Star Times. The arrangement is "a holding pattern" for the deal, with the so-called drafters still officially employed by Silver Fern, the newspaper said. The shares have sunk about 36% in the past month and traded at NZ$1.74 on Friday.

Steel & Tube (STU): Australia's OneSteel abandoned its NZ$4 a share cash offer for the shares in Steel & Tube it doesn't already own, citing increased market volatility and a more uncertain outlook for the target company. Steel & Tube's stock was unchanged at NZ$3.60 on Friday and has fallen about 4% this year.

Telecom (TEL): The Commerce Commission released its second quarterly report on broadband quality, concluding that there was "an overall improvement in the June quarter in the performance of the five largest ISPs," according to Chair Paula Rebstock. The government imposed an operational split on Telecom as part of measures to bolster the nation's use of high-speed broadband, which had lagged near the bottom of the OECD. The shares rose from a record low on Friday to NZ$2.34 and are down about 45% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill



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