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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Monday 25th August 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: Wall Street rallied on Friday as the price of oil plunged and Korea Development Bank said it may invest in Lehman Brothers. At home, Sky City Entertainment Group posted a 49% decline in annual profit after writing down its cinemas unit.

Air New Zealand (AIR): The national carrier's stock has tumbled 35% this year, lagging behind the NZX 50 Index, amid rising prices for jet fuel and rivalry on key routes across the Tasman Sea. The airline reports its annual earnings result tomorrow, having cut its forecast twice this year.

Contact Energy (CEN): The biggest utility on the NZX 50 Index reports full-year profit tomorrow, with pretax earnings growth of almost 4% forecast by analysts. The company probably benefited from soaring wholesale power prices though it paid more to buy electricity as well. The stock fell 2% to NZ$8.42 on Friday to be up 3% this year

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (FPH): Managing director Mike Daniell told shareholders on Friday that first-half profit will rise about 38% on demand for its respiratory and acute care products. Operating profit is expected to be about NZ$43 million in the six months ended September 30, he said. The stock rose 4.5% to NZ$3.05 on Friday.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil for October delivery fell 5.4% to $114.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, the biggest drop since 2004.

Port of Tauranga (POT): The port operator, which may resume merger talks with rival Ports of Auckland, plans to expand its container terminal operations for the first time since 1992 as volumes increase. Port of Tauranga stock has gained 8% in the past month.

Sky City Entertainment Group (SKC): The casino operator today posted a drop in earnings after taking one-time charges of NZ$58 million, including a write-down of its cinema chain. Excluding the items, per-share earnings rose 14%. The stock has declined 26% this year and traded at NZ$3.43 on Friday.

By Jonathan Underhill

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