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Stocks to watch: AMP Office, Auckland Airport

Wednesday 3rd February 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: The kiwi dollar rose to its highest level in a week as stocks rose on Wall Street, stoking risk appetite. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1% in New York. The price of milk powder declined in Fonterra’s latest online auction, the second monthly drop.

AMP NZ Office Trust (APT): Almost 20% of office space could be empty in the next three years, and 13% is empty in the CBD currently, according to a report from Goldman Sachs JBWere analysts Buffy Gill and Marcus Curley. “The outlook for offices looks quite negative in Auckland and Wellington, due primarily to expectations of oversupply,” they said. The stock fell 2.7% to 72 cents yesterday.

Auckland International Airport (AIA): The nation’s busiest gateway rose 2.9% to $1.96 when it resumed trading yesterday after being halted for its $126 million equity raising. The funds raised will help pay for the $167 million purchase of 25% of North Queensland Airports.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZS): The average price for whole milk powder fell 1.6% to US$3,256 a tonne, according to the globalDairyTrade website managed by CRA International, adding to signs that prices will struggle to make further gains as northern hemisphere producers increase output. The shares fell 1 cent to 44 cents yesterday and are down 6% in the past month.

Port of Tauranga (POT): Rival operator Ports of Auckland yesterday said it has established it rail link with its inland port complex in Wiri, South Auckland. The freight depot competes with Tauranga’s MetroPort in Auckland. The shares slipped 0.1% to $7.18 yesterday.

Smiths City Group (SCY): The Christchurch-based retailer said it has signed a lease for a store in Upper Hutt, the second outlet to open in the Wellington area in three months. The 2,196 square metre Upper Hutt store opens in March. The push into Wellington follows a strategic review which identified Wellington as a growth area. The shares last traded at 37 cents on February 1.

Telecom Corp. (REL): The country’s largest phone company yesterday said it will extend $5 million of free calls, Internet and messaging in compensation for customers affected by the outages on its XT network last week. The shares fell 0.8% to $2.35 yesterday.

Wellington Drive Technologies (WDT): AXA Asia Pacific Holdings and its affiliates disclosed in a filing that they trimmed their holdings in the energy-efficient motor designer company to 7.2% from 10.9%. The shares rose to 7.4 cents from 7.1 cents yesterday and have slumped 47% in the past six months.

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