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Stocks to Watch: New Zealand Equity Preview

Thursday 9th 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: The New Zealand dollar fell to below 59 U.S. cents. U.S. stocks rose after the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and four other central banks cut interest rates in a coordinated effort to ease the credit crisis. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said he may cut rates again after lowering the region's key lending rate by a half a point to 3.75% and offering to lend banks more cash.

Burger Fuel Worldwide Ltd. (BFW): the burger chain
appointed Alan Dunn as a director, gaining a board member who helped establish and run McDonalds Corp.'s business in New Zealand before taking larger roles with the U.S. company including its Scandanavian operations. The shares last traded at 50 cents on the NZAX on Oct. 6 and have declined about 22% this year.

Connexionz Ltd. (CNZ): Shareholders of the business systems company yesterday approved plans to raise funds through the sale of preference shares. The shares last traded on the NZAX on Sept. 4 at 15 cents and are little changed this year.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp. (FPH): the New Zealand dollar fell as low as 57.75 U.S. cents on the prospect of deeper interest rate cuts, helping company such as the medical equipment maker whose revenues are denominated in U.S. dollars. The stock traded at NZ$3 yesterday and has advanced 30% in the past three months. Among other exporters, AFFCO Holdings Ltd. (AFF), was unchanged at 50 cents yesterday and has gained 10% in the past three months. Fishing company Sanford Ltd. (SAN) rose 2.6% to NZ$5.59 yesterday and is up about 10% in the past three months.

Sky Network Television Ltd. (SKT): the pay-television company's costs for programming and equipment are denominated in U.S. dollars, so its costs tend to rise when the kiwi currency weakens. The shares are little changed in the past three months and traded at NZ$4.16 yesterday.

Warehouse Group Ltd. (WHS): the discount retail chain today said it will halt the rollout of its Warehouse Extra stores because the hypermarket outlets haven't showed an economic return. The company will make a "phased withdrawal from fresh produce, meat and frozen foods at its three existing Extra stores. Exit and restructuring costs will amount to as much as NZ$12 million before tax, including NZ$5 million of writedowns, with a charge to be taken against 2009 earnings. Pretax operating earnings will rise by about NZ$9 million. The stock traded at NZ$3.09 yesterday and has fallen 4% in the past month.

By Jonathan Underhill



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