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Stocks to watch: OceanaGold, A2 Corp, APT, MHI, MCK, RBD

Tuesday 13th April 2010

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OceanaGold shares climb as it outlines its Reefton expansion plans and A2 Corporation is in talks for a 'merger of equals' with Australia's Freedom Nutritional. Fisher Funds reduces it stake in Michael Hill and a 'rogue' executive sells chunk of Millennium's Chinese JV assets.

OceanaGold  (NZX: OGC ): The gold miner yesterday announced plans to expand its Reefton operations after identifying six highly prospective near mine targets. The stock climbed 2.7% to $3.49 yesterday.

A2 Corporation (NZX: ATM ): The company which licenses techniques to identify milk with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, yesterday said it is in talks for a “merger of equals” with ASX-listed Freedom Nutritional Products that would create a $62 million company. The two businesses on Friday signed a three-week ‘exclusivity deed’ during which they will undertake due diligence and attempt to agree terms for a merger to create a new ASX-listed entity. The shares rose 1.3% to 8 cents yesterday.

AMP NZ Office Trust (NZX: APT ): The property investor announced the signing of a tenancy agreement with the Department of Corrections for the majority of space in its Mayfair House building in Wellington. The agreement is the second-largest lease transaction in the trust’s 12-year history, chief executive Robert Lang said in a statement. Yesterday the trust’s shares rose 1.4% to 75 cents.

Michael Hill International (NZX: MHI ): Fund manager Fisher Funds Management ceased to be a substantial holder of the jeweller’s stock, reducing its stake to 3.3% from 5.5%, according to a filing yesterday. The shares were unchanged at 74 cents yesterday.

Millennium and Copthorne Hotels (NZX: MCK ): The hotel group announced after the close of trading yesterday that a ‘rogue’ executive working for a Chinese joint venture partner has unlawfully sold Chinese hotel assets worth US$47.8 million, of which US$16.3 million ($22.7 million) belonged to Millennium. The company will attempt to overturn the sales, it said. The shares were unchanged at 48 cents yesterday.

Restaurant Brands  (NZX: RBD ): The holder of the local franchises for KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks outlets is rated a ‘hold’ by Forsyth Barr analyst Guy Hallwright, who had a valuation of $2.10 on the shares, according to the ShareChat website. The stock rose 3 cents to $2.18 yesterday. Hallwright raised his raised his forecast for earnings before non-trading items in the year to February 2011 to $23 million from $21.9 million after 2010 profit beat the company’s guidance. 


Economic themes of the day: European rescue plans for Greece and optimism on strong first quarter earnings from US companies helped nudge Wall Street higher overnight.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1%, the Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2%.

News of the loan plan for Greece helped the euro rally to its highest in seven months, up 1.4% against the greenback to $1.3582.

Australian home loan data was weaker than expected and the Reserve Bank of Australia has indicated its interest rates are nearing neutral levels, reducing the need for further hikes.

The kiwi recently traded at 71.16 US cents and 76.73 Australian cents.

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