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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Friday 31st 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 US economy contracted 0.3% in the third quarter, less than the 0.5% pace predicted by economists. Stocks on Wall Street held their gains after the figures were released and the US dollar rose against the yen. Oil and gold fell.

Auckland International Airport (AIA): Auckland International Airport was unchanged at $1.76 yesterday after the nation's busiest gateway said full-year profit will probably be at the low end of its forecast range, as the global economic downturn crimps demand for travel.

Cavotec MSL Holdings (CCC): Cavotec has acquired German manufacturer Meyerinck Group which specialises in refuelling and industrial loading systems, coming into effect on November 1. The shares have dropped 35% this year and last traded at $3.36.

Lyttelton Port (LPC): The shares of the biggest South Island port rose 1.4% to $2.25 yesterday the company said it revived talks for a merger with Port Otago, a further sign that consolidation in the shipping industry is forcing posts to follow suit. Lyttelton shares have fallen 13% this year, less than half the NZX 50 Index's decline.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil fell in New York on concern a shrinking US economy will reduce demand for fuel. UBS AG cut its forecast for oil prices for next year by 43% to $60 a barrel, because of the prospects of a global slowdown, Bloomberg reported. Crude for December delivery fell 2.3% to US$65.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. NZOG's shares traded at $1.28 yesterday and are up 10% this year.

Nuplex Industries (NPX): Chairman Fred Holland said today that since August the company has experienced a softening of demand across most segments of business "but with cost reductions already in place the first quarter earnings are tracking close to last year." The shares were at $5.11 yesterday and are down 26% this year.

PGG Wrightson (PGW): New Zealand's biggest rural services company doesn't expect to close its deal to buy half of Silver Fern Farms as it currently stands, chairman Craig Norgate said yesterday. The stock rose 1.9% to $1.62 yesterday and is down 16% in the past month.

Vector (VCT): The Commerce Commission today released an authorisation for control of the supply of natural gas, which it said will result in further reductions in prices for gas distribution services. The commission had previously determined that Vector and Powerco had earned "significant excess profits" and imposed average price reductions of 9% for Powerco and 9.5% for Vector. Shares of Vector traded at $2.04 yesterday and has fallen about 6% this year, outperforming the NZX 50.

By Jonathan Underhill

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