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Stocks to watch: Hallensteins, Pike River, Nuplex

Tuesday 12th January 2010

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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: Strong import and export data overnight from China has bolstered a range of global commodities, including oil, copper and gold. In New Zealand, trading volumes are returning to normal after the Christmas break, with significant attention today on the release mid-morning of the New Zealand Institute of Research's Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion.

Auckland International Airport (NZX: AIA ): Initial market reaction to the first substantial corporate action by an NZX-listed company was mildly negative in trading yesterday, with the AIA share price falling 2.9% to $2.02 after announcing the purchase of a 24.55% shareholding in North Queensland Airports. The success of the investment hinges on AIA's ability to grow direct international passenger arrivals through the tropical north Queensland tourism gateway airport at Cairns, and to build packages that attract foreign tourists on to New Zealand, and New Zealanders to fly directly for holidays to Cairns. Pacific Blue is to start direct New Zealand - Cairns services in March on a route currently flown only by Air New Zealand;

Hallensteins Glasson Holdings Ltd (NZX: HLG ): The clothing retailer has announced the appointment of a permanent chief executive, Stephen Timms, to replace the acting CEO, Roy Dillon, whose appointment was to "steer the company through the recession". Timms comes to the group from Australia, after just six months as chief operating officer of the Ascendia Group, owners of the Rebel Sport franchise. Timms spent the previous decade in various positions in Australia and the US with the DFS duty-free stores group. Hallensteins closed yesterday at $3.25, down slightly on a 52-week high of $3.29 at the start of the trading year;

Nuplex Industries Ltd (NZX: NPX ): Announcements pre-Christmas of a restructuring and improved profit outlook pushed the resins maker to a 52-week high of $3.14 in trading yesterday, although it closed down at $3.09, well below a post-update target price of $3.28 posted by Dennis Lee, an analyst at Craig Investment Partners. "We believe Nuplex's earnings are highly leveraged to the rebound in global economic activity now underway," says Lee in a research report quoted on the Sharechat website;

Pike River Coal Ltd (NZX: PRC ): The listed coal miner's shares have traded flat at 98 cents so far this year, but may be affected by strong import and export data released overnight in China, where PRC is a supplier of premium coking coal.

Telecom Corporation Ltd (NZX: TEL ): The country's largest telco told the New Zealand stock exchange this morning that it had made a $9.5 million payment to settle historic claims against it of a breach of the Fair Trading Act.  Administrative errors made between 1999 and 2006 saw 130,000 customers overcharged when they switched from dial-up to broadband services but continued to be charged for dial-up. Telecom shares were down 3 cents at $2.55 in trading yesterday.

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