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Stocks to Watch: New Zealand Equity Preview

Tuesday 30th 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: Crude oil rose 6.1% to $40.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange amid escalating tensions in the Gaza Strip. Trading on the NZX amounted to just NZ$24 million yesterday and will likely remain subdued ahead of the New Year’s holiday.

AFFCO Holdings Ltd. (AFF): The North Island meat processor, which has widened its investments to include dairy products, has a strong balance sheet and will continue to develop as a broad food group, the company said in its annual report this week. The shares last traded on Dec. 24 at 38 cents and have gained about 15% this year.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp. (FPH): The manufacturer of breathing masks and respirators has gained about 4% in the past month, amid expectations demand for its medical products will continue unabated as global growth slows. The shares rose 3.2% to NZ$3.20 yesterday.

Fletcher Building (FBU): The nation’s largest construction company fell 3.5% to NZ$5.60 yesterday, extending last week’s slide after figures showed the biggest drop in U.S. home sales for 21 years. The stock is down almost 50% this year.

Kirkcaldie & Stains (KRK): The Wellington-based department store expects a subdued 2009 and the slowdown could last 18 months, according to managing director John Milford. Tax cuts, lower interest rates and falling prices for petrol were the start of a recovery of confidence, he said, according to the Dominion. The shares last traded at NZ$2.30 on Dec. 24.

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. The shares were unchanged at NZ$1.22 yesterday and have gained 6% this year.

Sanford Ltd. (SAN): The fishing company is the biggest gainer on the NZX 50 Index this year, rising 22% while then benchmark fell 33%. 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 yesterday.

By Jonathan Underhill

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