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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Tuesday 2nd 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: Australia's central bank will probably cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 7% today, the first reduction in seven years in New Zealand's biggest export market. New Zealand's dollar held below 70 US cents for a second day, trading recently at 69.60 US cents. The nation's recession appears to be near its end, according to a New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report yesterday.

Botry-Zen (BOZ): The maker of biological control agents yesterday won a financial reprieve after Bank of New Zealand agreed a new overdraft facility and the company raised funds selling shares. The stock traded at 1.7 cents yesterday and has declined 60% this year.

Contact Energy (CEN): The largest utility of the NZX 50 Index yesterday said it expects a reasonably smooth consent process for its Waitahora wind farm because the NZ$500 million project only requires approval of one local government organization, the Tararua District Council. The stock traded at NZ$8.36 yesterday and is little changed this year.

Dominion Finance (DFH): The company posted a NZ$108 million loss and said it is considering ways to wind down its two major units, Dominion Finance Group and North South Finance. The subsidiaries will be placed in receivership if the company fails to get approval for a repayment plan for investors. The shares have slumped almost 100% this year and traded yesterday at 2.5 cents.

Fletcher Building (FBU): The construction firm may benefit from lower interest rates in Australia, where it competes against Boral in the building products industry. The stock fell 3.7% to NZ$7.20 yesterday and has declined 35% this year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The price of crude oil fell $4.28 to $111.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after Hurricane Gustav weakened, easing concern about damage and disruption to rigs and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

NZX (NZX): The stock exchange operator today said total trades on the NZSX fell 20% in August, while the value of trading fell 24% to NZ$2.39 billion. On the NZAX market for small caps and start-ups, total trades fell 38% to 245, worth NZ$1 million.

PGG Wrightson (PGW): The rural services company has signed a fuel distribution agreement with Southfuels for the South Island and started a JV to provide the same in the North Island, its first foray into the fuel market, NZPA reported. The stock fell one cent to NZ$2.73 yesterday and has gained 25% this year.

Propertyfinance group (PFG): Propertyfinance group, the finance company that emerged from receivership in February, yesterday said it is seeking legal advice on releasing its annual report with a tag from its auditors. The stock was suspended last month after it missed the NZX deadline to file its report and had tumbled 51% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill

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