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Stocks to watch: AMP, Xero, Contact Energy, FPH, GFF

Friday 14th May 2010

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AMP shares rose as company is still talking with AXA SA about new bid for AXA Asia Pacific. Xero posts a wider full-year loss as sales rise 229%. Contact's customer exodus resumes as electricity competition remains intense.


AMP (NZX: AMP ):  The Australian pension plan provider rose 2.9% to $7.56 yesterday, after chief executive Craig Dunn said his company is in talks with AXA SA about making a new bid for the French company’s stake in AXA Asia Pacific.

Xero (XRO): The online accounting firm posted a wider full-year loss of $8.45 million as sales rose 229% to $3.16 million. The company, which expects to breakeven in 2011, is in a growth phase, dipping into the equity capital it raised last year to meet some of its outgoings. Its cash holdings from the capital raising amount to $21.4 million. The shares were unchanged yesterday at $1.58.

Contact Energy  (NZX: CEN ): The utility's recovery in electricity customer numbers has stalled, with the company losing 4,500 customers in the past two months, and a total of 44,000 electricity customers since the peak in September 2008, according to monthly operational data released yesterday. The shares rose 0.3% to $6.16. 

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ): The shares are rated ‘underperform’ by First NZ Capital analyst Sarndra Urlich, who says the benefits of overseas revenue growth is being blunted by a strong kiwi dollar, according to the ShareChat website. The company is expected to make market share gains in 2010 after matching the market’s growth in 2008 and 2009. The shares rose 2 cents to $3.44 yesterday. 

Goodman Fielder  (NZX: GFF ): The Australasian food products and bakery company said at an analyst briefing yesterday that it is targeting earnings-per-share growth of about 7%, longer term, as it focuses on its so-called power brands. It counts Vogel’s bread among its wide offering. The stock rose 1.7% to $1.81 yesterday.

Irongate Property (IRONGATEORD): Shares of the property management company tumbled 51% to 4.4 cents on the Unlisted platform yesterday after an investors group in a related company tried to dump the same manager that watches over Irongate. The unit-holders in National Property Trust (NAP) have called for a meeting to remove its manager, which is part of the St Laurence group. The management contracts were excluded from St Laurence’s receivership. NAP was unchanged at 48 cents.


Economic themes of the day: Government figures today are expected to show retail sales bounced back in March, with a 1.2% increase, from a drop of 0.6% in the previous month.

The Real Estate Institute if scheduled to release its latest monthly report on sales and prices today.

Shares on Wall Street fell, with the Standard & Poor's 500 slipping 1.2% after Cisco Systems said it was cautious about the outlook for the world's biggest economy.

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