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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Tuesday 7th October 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: New Zealand's dollar tumbled, falling below 62 US cents to the lowest level in six years. Stocks tumbled worldwide as Europe scrambled to rescue its banks and shore up confidence in its financial institutions. The yen strengthened against most major currencies and oil fell below US$90 a barrel. Gold and Treasury bonds rallied as investors ought a haven from the global rout.

Briscoe Group (BGR): The retailer expects to beat its first-half results in the second half, according to managing director Rod Duke's statement in the company's first-half report. Tight trading conditions have continued in the second half, he said. The homeware and sports good retailer can survive the economic downturn and return to stronger profitability, he said. The shares fell 3.3% to 87 cents yesterday, bringing their slide this year to 40%.

Contact Energy (CEN): The Cabinet yesterday considered its response to the utility's decision to increase power prices by 10%, including the option of a wide-ranging ministerial inquiry. The shares fell 2.8% to NZ$7.40 yesterday, bringing their decline in the past month to 9%.

Cynotech Holdings (CYT): Investor Mike Daniel increased his holding in the company to 10.6% from 9.6%. The stock surged 17% to 17 cents yesterday, trimming its decline this year to 30%.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (FPH): The maker of medical equipment gets most of its sales in US dollars and benefits from a weaker New Zealand currency when it brings home overseas revenue. The stock was at NZ$2.95 yesterday and has gained 27% in the past three months.

Fletcher Building (FBU): The Reserve Bank of Australia may reduce its benchmark rate by 50 basis points tomorrow, a move that could help underpin construction activity in a market where Fletcher competes with Boral Ltd. Fletcher shares fell 4.8% to NZ$6.50 yesterday. They're up 6% in the past three months, outperforming the NZX 50 Index.

NZX (NZX): The manager of the New Zealand stock exchange said the volume of trades rose 17% last month while the daily average value traded fell 8% to NZ$117 million. Some 30% was sliced off the value of equities traded on the NZX in September, it said. The exchange's own stock fell 1.7% to NZ$6.33 yesterday and has dropped 29% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill

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