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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Wednesday 10th September 2008

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The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading yesterday.

Themes of the day: US stocks dropped led by financials after talks faltered to sell a stake in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to Korea Development Bank and the price of oil declined. Crude oil fell below US$100 a barrel in London and traded at $103.26 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The New Zealand dollar traded at about 66.75 US cents. Perpetual Trust has called in receivers for Dominion Finance Group.

Contact Energy (CEN): The UK's BG Group Plc won't extend or raise its hostile bid for Contact's parent, Origin Energy, after the utility struck a deal to jointly develop coal-seam gas into LNG with ConocoPhillips. BG Group has said it would sell the half stake in Contact if its bid was successful. Contact stock rose 3.3% to NZ$9 yesterday.

Dominion Finance Holdings (DFH): The finance company's biggest operating unit, Dominion Finance Group, was placed in receivership by Perpetual Trust. The group is hopeful its other operating unit, North South Finance, will succeed in its moratorium as its trustee, Covenant Trustee Co., hasn't signaled it will follow Perpetual. The stock last traded at 2 cents and has slumped almost 100% in the past 12 months.

Genesis Research & Development Corp. (GEN): The biotech company said in its interim report that "royalty and licensing revenue from previously out-licensed projects will increase significantly within the next 12 months due to increased commercial interest." The stock last traded at 12 cents and has fallen 55% this year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil fell below $100 a barrel in London after OPEC ministers said the cartel will maintain current production levels at its meeting in Vienna.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): The Commerce Commission released its final determination for the telecommunication service obligations for the 2004/2005 year at NZ$52 million. The TSO is a way to recoup from other phone companies a portion of the uneconomic services Telecom provides to some residential customers. Telecom bears about 69% of the cost, with the rest mainly shared between Vodafone and TelstraClear. The stock traded at NZ$3.07 yesterday, near a 15-year low.

By Jonathan Underhill

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