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Stocks to watch: Air NZ, AMP, AIA, Pike River, Telecom

Thursday 4th February 2010

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Listed property trusts are likely to remain under pressure following a warning AMP Office today. Meanwhile investors will be watching AMP to see what happens in relation to its bid for AXA. Also there will be some attention on Pike River Coal and Telecom following recent announcements.

Economic Themes of the day: Government figures today are expected to show the unemployment rate rose to 6.8% in the fourth quarter, the highest level in more than a decade. A bigger number may drive the kiwi dollar down as traders reassess the timing of interest rate increases. Also out today is data on migration and inbound tourists.The kiwi fell below 71 U.S. cents today. Stocks weakened on Wall Street and in Europe.

AMP Office (NZX: APT ): AMP Office Trust this morning expressed its concerns about the impact of two of recommendations included in the recent report by the Tax Working Group. Chairman Craig Stobo said that the proposed removal of building depreciation and the introduction of a land tax, if adopted, will have a negative impact on the near-term stability of earnings and investor distributions for the trust and other listed and unlisted commercial property entities.

Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ): Rival operator on the trans-Tasman routes Emirates plans to increase capacity on flights between Auckland and Melbourne in August, after it replaces its Airbus A340-500s with Boeing Co. 777-300ER aircraft. "We have been experiencing very high load factors for some time and the bigger aircraft will take some of that pressure off," Emirates' New Zealand manager Chris Lethbridge told the NZ Herald. The shares rose 1 cent to $1.32 yesterday.

AMP Ltd. (NZX: AMP ): Australia’s biggest provider of pension plans rose 1.9% to $7.90 on the NZX yesterday, after Reuters reported that AMP won’t seek to extend its exclusive agreement with French insurer AXA SA for a joint US$11.4 billion bid for AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd.

Auckland International Airport (NZX: AIA ): The nation’s busiest gateway was raised to ‘outperform’ from 'market perform’ by ASB Securities analyst Florian Burch, according to the website. Trading is broadly in line with his expectations, he said. The shares fell 1 cent to $1.95 yesterday.

Nuplex Industries (NZX: NPX ): The specialty chemicals company today named Emery Severin as chief executive, replacing John Hirst, who will retire at the end of June after 43 years with the company. Severin, a former Boral Ltd executive, has a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Oxford University, Nuplex said. The shares rose 1 cent to $3.24 yesterday.

Pike River Coal (NZX: PRC ): The coal miner’s shares fell 3.1% to 95 cents yesterday, returning to the eight-month low it reached last week, when it flagged further production delays at its sole mine in the South Island. The mining company has indicated it may need to raise more funds to pay for mine development before making its first export sales of coking coal.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ): The country’s largest phone company has downplayed media reports that it’s looking to ship IT services offshore. Telecom asked seven “leading global technology companies” to improve its internal information technology services and asked for proposals without boundaries or directives, spokesman Ian Bonnar said. Yesterday the shares slipped 1 cent to $2.34. 

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