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Stocks to Watch: New Zealand Equity Preview

Thursday 4th 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: The New Zealand dollar traded at about 68.50 US cents and earlier reached 67.40 cents, the lowest in more than a year. A weaker currency boosts the value of exporters' sales when they're brought home. It also drives up import prices. The euro fell to the lowest level against the US dollar in more than seven months after European reports showed retail sales and business investment dropped.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil for October delivery fell 0.3 percent to $109.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price has dropped 26% from the record $147.27 reached on July 11. Chief executive David Salisbury yesterday urged the government to speed the opening up of more exploration acreage, the Dominion Post reported.

NZX (NZX): The stock exchange operator today named Andrew Harmos, founding partner of corporate legal advisers Harmos Horton Lusk, as chairman effective immediately. He replaces Simon Allen, chief executive at ABN Amro. NZX stock traded at NZ$6.86 yesterday and has dropped 30% this year.

Sanford (SAN): The fishing company whose shares have soared 48% this year bought a 13% stake in the Bluff oyster fishery by acquiring the assets of the Southland-based Jones Group. The acquisition includes 500 tonnes of inshore fish species and 500 tonnes of deepwater species.
No price was disclosed. The shares were unchanged at NZ$6 yesterday.

Smith City Group (SCY): Chairman Craig Boyce told shareholders at their annual meeting that its shares represented good value after declining 30% in the past year. The stock traded yesterday at 43 cents, almost half the company's net asset backing. "We feel confident about its future," he said.

Telstra Corp. (TLS): Australia's biggest phone company yesterday said its share of revenue from its Sensis directory unit will almost double in five years as sales rise for property and vehicle listings. Sensis may account for 15% of Telstra's revenue by 2013 from 8.5% now, chief executive Sol Trujillo told Bloomberg News. Telstra's New Zealand shares fell 0.6% to NZ$5.34 yesterday and have gained 5% in the past 12 months.

Wellington Drive Technologies (WDT): The company has won the right to use the US Energy Star mark, a government initiative to recognize energy-efficient products. The shares rose 6.7% to 32 cents yesterday and have declined 15% this year.

By Jonathan Underhill

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