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Stocks to watch: AIR, ALF, DPC, MHI, NZO, NPX

Wednesday 9th June 2010

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Air New Zealand is raising domestic fares to cover the cost of the emissions trading scheme effective from July 1, Standard & Poor's cuts Allied Nationwide's credit rating due to deteriorating liquidity, while two major Dorchester shareholders will be underwriting its $10 million capital raising plan.

Air New Zealand (AIR): The national airline will raise domestic fares by between $1 and $2 to cover the cost of the emissions trading scheme which starts on July 1 and to cover higher fuel costs, the Dominion Post reported. The shares fell 2 cents to $1.14.

Allied Farmers (ALF): Standard & Poor’s announced on Friday that it cut the credit rating of its Allied Nationwide unit to B from BB- in the face of the firm’s deteriorating liquidity. Direct Broking director David Speight said the credit downgrade will make the firm’s cost of borrowing money more expensive, and tighten up already squeezed margins. The stock sank 9.8% to 4.6 cents yesterday.

Dorchester Pacific (DPC): The finance company said its $10 million capital raising will be substantially underwritten by the two major shareholders, Business Bakery LP and Hugh Green Investments, which each currently hold just under 20% of the shares. Each will subscribe to 35 million shares or $3.5 million, with an option to apply for a further 5 million shares. Chairman Barry Graham is to step down and be replaced by Grant Baker. The shares last traded on June 1 at 15 cents. 

Michael Hill International (MHI): The shares fell 5.7% to 66 cents yesterday after the jewellery chain announced it will close half of the 17 US stores it bought from a failed retailer in 2008 and forecast a full-year loss in America of US$6 million. Closure costs of US$1.8 million including lease termination costs and staff entitlements, which will be recognized in the full-year results. 

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): New York crude oil rose for the first time in three days after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the world’s biggest economy wouldn’t be derailed by Europe’s debt crisis. The shares fell 4 cents to $1.36 yesterday. Pan Pacific Petroleum (PPP) fell 1 cent to 26 cents. 

Nuplex Industries (NPX): The specialty chemicals company said in notes to a presentation released to the NZX that trading conditions are “generally stabilising” with Australasia likely to hold at a higher level, and momentum continuing in Asia albeit at a slower rate. The Americas are showing some signs of recovery, while there is still some uncertainty in Europe. The shares fell 9 cents to $2.77 yesterday.

Themes of the day: US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke helped soothe fears the world's biggest economy would get dragged down by the debt crisis in Europe. Investors locally are awaiting the Reserve Bank's review of interest rates tomorrow, with a 25 basis point hike in the official cash rate expected, according to a Reuters survey.

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