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Stocks to watch: Briscoe, Genesis, NZ Windfarms, Wrightson, South Port

Friday 5th February 2010

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There’s been some good early morning news for the retail sector with Briscoes reporting sales gains. Also in the news NZ Windfarms gained consent for 56 additional turbines on one of its sites. Also there was some good news for South Canterbury Finance.

Economic themes of the day: The kiwi dollar sank, trading recently at 68.83 US cents, as benchmark stocks indexes in Europe and the US tumbled more than 2% on amid concern about mounting fiscal deficits in Portugal and Spain.

Briscoe Group Ltd. (NZX: BGR ): The homeware and sports goods retailer today posted a 14% gain in sales for the three months ended January 31 and said full-year profit exceeded $20 million. Managing director Rod Duke said the retailer performed wellover the peak Christmas period and strong trading continued into January, particularly for its Briscoes Homeware stores. The shares were unchanged at $1.26 yesterday.

Genesis Research and Development Corp. (NZX: GEN ): The biotech company yesterday posted a full-year loss of $1.2 million, down from a year-earlier loss of $7.5 million, partly reflecting a reduction in staff numbers. Sales rose 58% to $1.9 million. Chief executive Stephen Hall criticised the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for being unwilling to provide matching funding for its gene silencing technology, which imposed financial constraints on the project. The company also announced a share purchase plan at 6 cents apiece. The stock soared 23% to 6.9 cents yesterday.

NZ Windfarms Ltd. (NZX: NWF ): The company said yesterday that the Joint Hearing Commissioners for the Resource Consent application for the Te Rere Hau Wind Farm Extension have granted land use consent for the 56 additional turbines applied for. The company is reviewing the conditions attached to the consent, it said. The shares jumped 7% to 45 cents yesterday.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ): The company said yesterday said it has repaid a $22.8 million subordinated debt facility to South Canterbury Finance, using its syndicated banking facilities. “It shows they are getting out of some of the things they were forced to do,” said Stephen Wright, private client adviser at ASB Securities. “Hopefully it is another sign they will start firing on all cylinders.” The stock rose 1.6% to 62 cents yesterday. Pyne Gould Corp. (PGC), the financial group that owns about 18% of Wrightson, climbed 4.4% to 47 cents.

South Port (NZX: SPN ): First-half profit fell 24% to $1.7 million, reflecting one-time gains in the prior period and a drop in cargo handling. Cargo volumes for the six months fell 8% to 984,000 tonnes. The company yesterday said it will take a further 12-18 months before complete confidence is restored to global markets, while the New Zealand economy has “a sense of fragility.” The company forecast full-year earnings of about $3.5 million. The shares last traded on Jan. 27 at $2.80.

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