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Stocks to watch: New Zealand equity preview

Wednesday 3rd December 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: US stocks rose, with General Electric jumping almost 10% after announcing it will maintain its dividend payments and Citigroup rebounded on the Federal Reserve's decision to extend terms of emergency loans.

Air New Zealand (AIR): The national carrier may face tougher competition from its trans-Tasman rival as Qantas Airways Ltd. discusses a potential merger with British Airways Plc. The airlines would retain their brands as they minimise costs in the face of rising fuel prices. Air NZ stocks are currently at $0.85, having fallen almost 55% over the last 12 months.

Fletcher Building (FBU):
A month after it began work on the Eden Park upgrade, the country’s largest listed construction company is now asking subcontractors, which make up almost three-quarters of its workforce, to resubmit their quotes as it looks to cut costs. The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of 2010, and is the centerpiece for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The company’s stock has fallen almost 55% in the last 12 months to $5.38 per share.
L&M Petroleum (LMP): The energy explorer said it reached target depth of 330 metres in its Wairaki-1 coal seam gas exploration well. Initial results showed the Beaumont coals contain up to 1.25 m3 per tonne of methane gas. Samples are being sent for further analysis. The shares fell 4.8% to 10 cents yesterday and are up about 5% this year.
New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil fell on concern a weaker US economy will consume less fuel, while demand will wane in Europe and Japan. Crude for January delivery fell 4.7% to US$46.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since May 2005. The stock fell 4 cents to $1.26 yesterday and is up 10% this year.
Propertyfinance Group (PFG): The finance company had agreed to repay $15 million of debenture stock principal by Dec. 21 as a condition of being removed from receivership. Yesterday the company said it had repaid $7.2 million though it was unlikely to repay the balance before the first quarter next year. The shares last traded at 10 cents on July 25.

By Jonathan Underhill

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