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Stocks to watch: ECO, KMD, NZO, PGC, SAN, SKT, WHS

Stocks to watch: ECO, KMD, NZO, PGC, SAN, SKT, WHS

Nov. 24 (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: Global stocks rose on signs the U.S. economic recovery is gathering steam, with new claims for unemployment benefits dropping to their lowest level in more than two years, while consumer spending rose for a fourth straight month in October, according to government data. In late afternoon trade the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 1.4% to 1,197.63, while in Europe the Stoxx 600 Index rose 1% to 266.37 at the close. The New Zealand dollar slipped to 76.14 U.S. cents from 76.23 cents yesterday. The opening of the NZX and NZAX markets will be delayed by five minutes today to commemorate the 29 miners who lost their lives in the Pike River Coal mine explosion.

Ecoya Ltd. (ECO): The scented candle company reported a $2.6 million first-half net loss on sales of $4.4 million and said it is on track to meet its May prospectus forecasts. The result include one month's trading from skincare company Trilogy purchased on Sept. 1. Excluding Trilogy, sales were $3.1 million for the six months compared with $3.9 million for the year ended March. Shares were unchanged yesterday at 78 cents.

Kathmandu Holdings (KMD): The outdoor clothing retailer yesterday reported a 9.3% increase in sales in the first 16 weeks of the financial year and predicted earnings growth in 2011. Sales rose to $51.6 million in the 16 weeks ended Nov. 21, or 2.1% on a same-store basis, down from growth of 19% a year earlier, chief executive Peter Halkett told shareholders at their annual meeting today. Share rose 0.7% yesterday to $1.56.

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO): The energy exploration and production company pared gains yesterday after a second blast at the Pike River Coal Ltd.'s West Coast mine. NZOG owns a 29% stake in Pike, as well as numerous option and debt facilities. Officials said there was now no chance of the 29 trapped miners surviving, and rescue teams had now moved into recovery mode. Share rose 2.3% to 89 cents.

Pyne Gould Corp. (PGC): The financial services company is one step closer to transforming itself into a bank after CBS Canterbury shareholders approved the merger with Pyne Gould's Marac Finance and Southern Cross Building Society. Shares rose 2.6% to 40 cents.

Sanford Ltd. (SAN): The fisheries company said growing demand for mussels is likely offset by the strength of the New Zealand dollar. The company reported a 36% decline in net profit to $25.02 million for the year to Sept. 30. Revenue dropped 2.8% to $421 million. Sanford maintained its final dividend at 14c. Shares fell 1.1% to $4.65.

Sky Network Television Ltd. (SKT): The pay TV operator launched its iSky online portal yesterday, but said subscribers will have to wait a few more weeks before they can access the service. The internet based service will be free to Sky subscribers based on their existing channel subscriptions at first, with access for non-subscribers at being launched at a later date. Shares rose 0.2% yesterday to $5.28.

Warehouse Group (WHS): New Zealand's biggest listed retail is expected to face challenging trading conditions as competitors eat into its market share, according to Aegis Equities Research analyst Nachiket Moghe, quoted on the ShareChat website. First quarter sales fell 1.5%, weighed down by a 9% year-on-year decline in CD and DVD sales, while its stationery store sales rose 2.9%. Moghe revised down his forecast for net profit in the year ending July 2011 to $84.5 million from $87 million. Shares fell 1.8% yesterday to $3.73.


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