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Stocks to watch: Allied Farmers, NZOG, PGW, TEL, APN

Monday 8th March 2010

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Allied Farmers puts Hendo's Five Mile development in receivership and the Hoki-1 well, part-owned by New Zealand Oil & Gas, is ready for drilling.  PGW's new chairman discloses shares held in family trust and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's monetary policy statement is due out Thursday.

Allied Farmers (NZX: ALF ): The finance company on Friday announced it has placed Property Ventures into the hands of receiver Grant Thornton in an attempt to recover a loan to Five Mile Holdings Limited (In Receivership) of more than $41.5 million. It named a new in-house legal counsel and said the Property Ventures action was the first of many. The stock fell 3.8% to 7 cents on Friday.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZX: NZO ): The much-delayed Kan Tan IV oil rig is ready to start drilling the first of several wells offshore Taranaki, the operator, AWE, and 10% partner NZOG said on Friday. The shares rose 1.3% to $1.57 on Friday.

OceanaGold Corp. (NZX: OGC ): The operator of the Macraes gold field completed the first step of its plan to raise C$86.3 million ($NZ122 million) in new capital to fund a change in the way it sells its gold. The stock rose 1.8% to $3.36 on Friday.

APN News & Media (NZX: APN ): The dual-listed Australasian publisher should see bottom line improvements as the advertising market recovers said RBS Equities analyst Fraser McLeish in a report on the ShareChat website. The company reported a 2009 profit of A$94m, down from A$143m the previous year. In New Zealand, Auckland appears to be recovering ahead of the regions, he said. APN has exposure to the Auckland economy through ownership of its flagship New Zealand Herald title.  Its shares remained unchanged on Friday at $3.35; 

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ): John Anderson, newly appointed chairman of New Zealand’s largest rural services company, has disclosed holding of 1.15 million PGW shares held in his family trust. The shares fell 3.3% to 59 cents on Friday; 

Telecom  (NZX: TEL ): The national telecommunications company declines to comment on speculation that it is selling its international division to Canadian company Rogers Communications. The stand-alone business brokers to over 300 global telcos, buying and selling capacity on international phone networks, managing about five billion minutes of voice calls a year. Its yearly gross margin is about $53 million dollars. Telecom shares fell 0.4% to $2.25 on Friday. 

Economic themes of the day: The NASDAQ hit an 18 month high on Friday rising 1.5% to 2326 as US employers cut fewer jobs than expected and American consumers loosened their wallets.

The New Zealand dollar climbed 10 basis points on the news to US69.66 cents. Local markets are looking to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's monetary policy statement, due Thursday, for signals about when Kiwi interest rates will start rising.  However, no tightening is expected this week.

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