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Stocks to watch: AMP, GPG, IFT, OGC, PRC, PGC

Stocks to watch: AMP, GPG, IFT, OGC, PRC, PGC

Nov. 16 (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: Stocks on Wall Street rose yesterday amid merger and acquisition activity and a pick-up incommodity prices. Caterpillar Inc. agreed to buy mining equipment maker Bucyrus International Inc. and EMC Corp. bought Isilon Systems Inc. for US$2.25 billion. Infratil Ltd. reported a surge in first-half profit on earnings from its Australian energy investments and contribution from Greenstone, the business that acquired the Shell NZ assets.

AMP Ltd. (AMP): The NZX-listed shares of the Australian wealth manager surged 5.2% to $7.15 when they resumed trading yesterday after being halted for the announcement of its A$13.3 billion takeover offer for AXA Asia Pacific Ltd. AMP is teaming with France’s AXA SA, the biggest shareholder of AXA Asia Pacific, in the transaction. Minority holders of the target company would get at least A$6.43 a share, made up of 0.73 AMP stock and the balance in cash.

Guinness Peat Group (GPG): The investment company said the Coats thread-making company, its biggest investment, had benefited from stronger demand in the second half of the year. Its crafts market “has remained challenging,” maintaining sales at 2009 levels, the company said. Raw material prices peaked in the September quarter, “putting pressure on gross margins.” The shares rose 1.4% to 74 cents yesterday.

Infratil Ltd. (IFT): The investment company posted a first-half profit of $43 million, up from $14 million a year earlier, driven by increased earnings from Infratil Energy Australia and an equity accounted contribution from Greenstone Energy. The shares rose 2 cents to $1.90 yesterday.

OceanaGold Corp. (OGC): The owner of the Macraes gold field said its 2010 guidance if for production of 270,000 to 290,000 ounces of gold at between US$555 and US$585 an ounce. The company released industry data showing that market capitalisation against reserves shows OceanaGold’s ratio is low compared to sector peers. The stock fell 10 cents to $4.63 yesterday.

Pike River Coal Ltd. (PRC): New chief executive Peter Whittall told shareholders at their annual meeting yesterday that the company will be more cautious about forecasts after production delays forced it to raise more capital to keep going until it makes coal sales. The coal miner was forced to cut its production forecast by almost half to 340,000-to-360,000 tonnes due to delays at its hydro mining operations. The shares rose 1.1% yesterday to 96 cents.

Pyne Gould Corp. (PGC): The financial services company said yesterday it plans to distribute most of its stake in the proposed South Island bank if the merger proceeds. The remaining holding will be separately placed to investors about the same time as the distribution to raise cash for Pyne Gould. The shares rose 2.4% yesterday to 42 cents.


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