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Stocks to watch: Abano, Briscoe, FPH, SPY, TPW

Monday 8th February 2010

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Earnings season kicks of in earnest this week with Telecom quarterly results on Thursday. Abano Healthcare shares are rated buy and Briscoe's shares jump on positive full year profit announcements.

Stocks edged higher on Wall Street on Friday as some investors deemed last week’s tumble made some stocks relatively more attractive.

In New Zealand, earnings season kicks of in earnest this week with Telecom's quarterly results on Thursday.

Abano Healthcare (NZX: ABA ): The shares are rated a ‘buy’ by John Cairns, an analyst at Forsyth Barr, according to the ShareChat website. Cairns raised his forecast for full-year EBITDA to $19 million from $18.6 million after the company posted first-half earnings growth from continuing operations of about 35%. Earnings from dental clinics almost doubled, highlighting the company’s strategy of expanding through acquisitions. The shares fell 1.2% to $5.78 on Friday.

Briscoe Group (NZX: BGR ):  The retailer controlled by managing director Rod Duke, on Friday said full-year profit almost doubled, restoring earnings to levels last seen in 2008, after strong Christmas trading fattened its margins. Net income exceeded $20 million in the 12 months ended Jan. 31, from $11.6 million in 2009. The shares jumped 7.9% to $1.36 on Friday.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ): The US fund manager Capital Group reduced its holding in the health-care equipment manufacturer to 4.9% from 5.08%, selling shares at $3.38 apiece on February 4, according to a filing today. The shares rose 1 cent to $3.39 on Friday.

SmartPay (NZX: SPY ): Chairman John Seton told shareholders at a special meeting to consider the issue of new shares that the company will continue to search for “suitable acquisitions that complement our business model.” The shares last traded at 4.1 cents on February 3. 

TrustPower (NZX: TPW ): The utility controlled by Infratil is preparing to write off a chunk of $9.5 million spent on a customer service software upgrade project whose costs started to blow out. The writedown covering money spent on back-office operational customer service systems was detailed in the company’s quarterly operating statistics, released to NZX on Friday. On Friday, the shares rose 0.3% to $7.34. 

Economic themes of the day: The New Zealand dollar sank to a five-month low, trading below 69 US cents on weak domestic labour market and retail sales data late last week and figures on Friday showing the US unexpectedly shed jobs last month. Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven major nations will retain their economic stimulus measures even as concerns grow about widening sovereign debt levels. The G-7 will consider exit strategies when there’s more proof of economic recovery, ministers said at their meeting in Iqaluit, Canada.

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