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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Friday 18th 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: Oil fell below US$130 a barrel for the first time in six weeks on growing speculation slowing global economic growth will reduce demand for fuel. US financial stocks rallied, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. after the biggest US bank posted higher-than-expected earnings. In New Zealand, there is a 52% chance that the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates at its July 24 review, according to a Credit Suisse Group index based on overnight swaps trading.

Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR): Pilots at the Air Nelson subsidiary of the national airline walked off the job at midnight at the start of a three-day strike over stalled pay talks. The company in May cut its annual earnings forecast to less than NZ$200 million before tax and one-time items, citing higher costs for fuel.

Comvita (CVT): The processor and marketer of honey products today named Peter Moran, a former executive at Telecom Corp. and Caltex, as chief financial officer. Last month the company reported a worse-than-expected net loss of $3.356 million for the 15 months ended March 31. The stock has declined 35% this year.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings (FPA): Shares of the appliance maker have gained 2% in the past 10 days, trimming their year-to-date decline to about 44%. The company has been closing factories in New Zealand and relocating to Thailand and the US to reduce the impact of a high New Zealand dollar. The kiwi tumbled to below 76 U.S. cents overnight from about 77 cents yesterday.

ProvencoCadmus (PVO): The Eftpos machine company said it has gained an additional NZ$8 million in working capital from ANZ National Bank and the NZX has provided a waiver allowing the company's cornerstone shareholders, Todd Capital and Peter Maire, to underwrite the facility. Support from the shareholders is "pleasing" in these "difficult times," chief executive Jim Doyle said yesterday. The company wants to recapitalize and is considering an equity raising and sale of non-core assets.

Rakon (RAK): The maker of navigation components said it will double capacity when production starts at a venture with Timemaker Crystal Technology next year. Rakon will acquire 40% of Timemaker and have a 70% stake in their manufacturing joint venture. The stock rose 3.8% yesterday.

By Jonathan Underhill

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