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Stocks to Watch: New Zealand Equity Preview

Monday 29th December 2008

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The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading on Dec. 24.

Themes of the day: Commodity prices gained on Dec. 26 after the United Arab Emirates, the world’s fifth-largest exporter of crude, said it would reduce supplies to Asia in line with OPEC’s plan to reduce supplies by a record 2.2 million barrels a day. Gold and copper advanced.

A2 Corp. (ATM): A review of the potential health issues associated with milk containing the A1 protein will be known in the new year, the Press reported, citing a spokeswoman for the European Food Safety Authority. The EFSA said it is in the final stages of the review. A2 owns and licenses techniques to identify milk with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits. The company posted a first-half loss NZ$1.99 million. The NZAX-listed stock traded at 12 cents on Dec. 24 and is down 45% this year.

Air New Zealand (AIR): The national carrier rose 3.5% to 88 cents on Dec. 24 after announcing it is continuing compensation talks with Boeing Co. amid further delays to delivery of its 787-9 Dreamliners after a machinists strike and production tweaks. The delivery time has been pushed back to 2013 from the original target of 2010.

CER Group (CER): The developer of biological control agents said it has reached agreement with the vendors of the VRM business to transfer it back and cease any further operational involvement. As a result, CER will cancel some 18 million shares the vendors had received for the investment. In October, CER said it had become concerned about the sustainability of VRM’s income base, particularly its dependence upon sales of its bio-fertilisers to Queensland sugar growers as prices for the sweetener fell. The stock traded at 1 cent on Dec. 22 and has tumbled 90% this year.

Fletcher Building (FBU): The nation’s largest construction company fell 2.9% to NZ$5.80 in its final trading day before Christmas after figures showed the biggest drop in U.S. home sales for 21 years.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The oil company has built a 15% stake in Tui oilfield partner Pan Pacific Petroleum, increasing its exposure to the field. Crude oil for February delivery rose 6.7% to US$37.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange last week The shares fell 1.6% to NZ$1.22 on Dec. 24.

Sanford Ltd. (SAN): The fishing company is the biggest gainer on the NZX 50 Index this year, rising almost 25% while then benchmark fell 35%. Sanford has benefited from strong prices for fish in world markets and a weakening New Zealand dollar, which swells export returns. The shares were unchanged at NZ$5 on Dec. 24.

Warehouse Group Ltd. (WHS): Initial figures from eftpos company Paymark suggest the turnout of shopper looking for bargains on Boxing day exceeded shoppers on the same day last year. In the peak shopping period between midday and 3 p.m. some 220,000 purchases were made, Paymark said. Warehouse fell 0.3% to NZ$3.47 on Dec. 24.


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