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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Tuesday 23rd September 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: Wall Street erased much of its gains on concern the federal government's US$700 billion rescue won't stop the US economy falling into recession. Crude oil had a record gain, soaring 17% to US$120.92 a barrel as traders unwound positions in the final day of trading in October contracts. In New Zealand, the Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence survey for the third quarter is released today, which will show whether two interest rate cuts since July have helped lift sentiment.

Auckland International Airport (AIA): New Zealand's busiest gateway yesterday said international passenger volumes rose 0.8% in August from the same month of 2007. Arrivals from Australia rose 4.3%, while arrivals fell 4.9% from the UK and 6.3% from the US. The stocks traded at NZ$2.06 yesterday and have declined 29% this year.

Contact Energy (CEN): Chief executive David Baldwin said constraints on the Cook Strait cable and lower lake levels in the South Island have meant the utility has been forced to buy power on the spot market to deliver on its supply contracts. "This has resulted in performance for the first two months of the current year being well below expectations," he said in the company's annual report. The shares rose 1.5% to NZ$8.70 yesterday and is up 5% this year.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings (FPA): The appliances manufacturer said it isn't expecting growth in the US market in the next 12 months, even after the federal government announced its US$700 billion financial rescue, the Dominion Post reported, citing Paul Brockett, vice-president of investor relations. The stocks traded at NZ$1.71 yesterday and has tumbled 50% this year.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The price of crude oil soared yesterday. The company last month posted full-year profit that soared to NZ$97 million from NZ$6.76 million, as revenue rocketed 5,000% on output from the Tui oilfield. The shares traded at NZ$1.41 yesterday and has gained 22% this year.

Southern Travel Holdings (STH): The travel package company, which targets inbound tour groups from Japan, bought an online agency that caters to US and UK tourists. Southern Travel stock last traded at 26 cents on the NZAX market on September 19 and has declined 32% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill

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