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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Wednesday 23rd July 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: Crude oil fell more than US$3 a barrel to a six-week low US$127.95 as the dollar gained and a storm in the Gulf of Mexico was set to miss oil installations. Figures in Australia today may show annual inflation in New Zealand's biggest export market accelerated last quarter to 4.3%, which may keep interest rates high.

Air New Zealand (AIR): The national airline isn't too small to avoid being swallowed up in airline consolidation as companies struggle with soaring fuel costs, AAP reported, citing Qantas Airways chief executive Geoff Dixon. Air New Zealand this month said it would freeze executive pay and may cut jobs as costs rise and demand slows.

Australian & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ): The company led a decline in Australian banks whose shares also trade on the NZX after Citigroup cut its 2009 earnings estimates for the firms by 12% saying there are signs Australia's economy may slow faster than expected. ANZ Bank's New Zealand shares fell 2.9% to NZ$23.36.

Blue Sky Meats (BLUESKY): The Southland-based meat processor, whose stock trades on the Unlisted market, said annual profit tumbled to NZ$282,000 from NZ$1.5 million a year earlier as the margin on processing sheep and lamb evaporated. The stock last traded at NZ$1.90 and is offered at NZ$1.85. It was at NZ$2.50 a year ago.

National Australia Bank (NAB): The bank today said it has withdrawn from talks with Royal Bank of Scotland about acquiring ABN AMRO Australia Holdings Pty.

New Zealand Rural Property Trust (NZRPT): The farm investment company yesterday announced a 30% gain in the value of net assets, reflecting soaring prices for dairy and other properties. The net asset value per unit is expected to rise to about NZ$4.50 from NZ$3.46 in June 2007, the company said. The units last traded at NZ$3.10 on the Unlisted market.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil fell more than US$3 a barrel to a six-week low US$127.95 a barrel. NZOG owns 12.5% of the Tui oilfield, which sold its output at an average US$100 a barrel in the year ended June 30. The stock last traded at NZ$1.56 having reached NZ$1.84 on July 15.

By Jonathan Underhill

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