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Stocks to watch: AIA, CEN, DNZ, FBU, LPC, NZS, SPN, TEL

Stocks to watch: AIA, CEN, DNZ, FBU, LPC, NZS, SPN, TEL

Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading. All prices are in New Zealand dollars unless specified.

Themes of the day: European sovereign debt woes continued to rear their head after ratings agency Moody's downgraded some Irish lenders and debt securities, and looks set to put Spanish banks on notice. The euro zone jitters saw investors flee the European currency, and helped support the New Zealand dollar, which was last trading at 74.28 U.S. cents from 73.84 cents yesterday. Global equities continued to gain ground. In last afternoon trade the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.3% to 1,248.15, while in Europe the Stoxx 600 rose 0.7% to 278.38. Government is set to release international travel and migration numbers for November today.

Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR): The national carrier yesterday reported an 11% gain in passenger volumes last month from a year earlier, suggesting demand is returning to levels before the global financial crisis. Shares rose 1.4% yesterday to $1.49.

Contact Energy Ltd. (CEN): New Zealand's biggest listed utility fell 1.6% yesterday to $6.14 after it said lost a further 3,000 customers in its latest monthly operating statistics, with total electricity numbers falling 2,500 over the month to 467,000, and gas customers falling by 500 t0 62,000. On the bright side, it recorded a 3,000 customer increase in LPG customers, to 58,500. LPG has been the only part of the Contact customer base to grow consistently this year.

DNZ Property Fund (DNZ): The property investor is expected to perform better than its counterparts due to it being the only listed property vehicle with an internalised management contract, according to Goldman Sachs & Partner analyst Buffy Gill, quoted on the Sharechat website. She said internally managed property trusts produce 4% greater earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation than those that are externally managed. Shares rose 0.9% yesterday to $1.16.

Fletcher Building Ltd. (FBU): New Zealand biggest construction company said it will not lift its bid for takeover target Crane Group after the Australasian pipe and plumbing company said the A$9.35 cash and share offer was "inadequate and undervalues the company". The shares were unchanged yesterday at $7.73.

Lyttelton Port Co. (LPC): The South island biggest port will spend $13.7 million building a new berth for cruise ships to tap anticipated growth in visits to Christchurch. About 100,000 cruise ship passengers are expected in the 2010-2011 season, adding $23 million to the Canterbury economy, the port said, citing a study by Cruise New Zealand. Shares of the port company last traded at $2.26 on Dec. 17.

New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay Ltd. (NZS): The South American dairy farm operator has tapped majority shareholder Olam International for a US$50 ($67 million). The loan will be used to fund capital expenditure and working capital, and to pay Wrightson the remaining performance fee, management fees, and fees related to the buyout of the management contract, the company said in a statement today. The shares were unchanged yesterday at 61 cents.

South Port NZ Ltd (SPN): The Bluff-based port operator has revised its earnings forecast upwards, saying strong cargo flows in the first five months of the financial year would see it exceed its net profit range of between $3.5 million to $3.9 million. Shares fell 0.5% yesterday to $2.25.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): The country's biggest telephone company fell 0.9% yesterday to $2.21 after a Commerce Commission report found broadband speeds are 20% faster when accessed through unbundled local loop services than through Telecom Corp.’s regular wholesale offering.


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