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Stocks to watch: AIA, FPA, NZO, PGC, TEL, WBC

Stocks to watch: AIA, FPA, NZO, PGC, TEL, WBC

Dec. 13 (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: Signs of an improving U.S. economy and the prospect of additional stimulus from the extension of Bush-era tax cuts saw risk appetites grow last week. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.6% to 1240.40, its highest level since 2008, while in Europe the Stoxx 600 rose 1% to 276.19. The New Zealand dollar fell against the U.S dollar, and was last trading at 74.71 U.S. cents from 75.03 cents on Friday in New York, and dropped to 67.60 on the trade-weighted index of major trading partners’ currencies from 67.79.

Auckland International Airport Ltd. (AIA): New Zealand's busiest gateway has added another international route to its list of destinations, with confirmation that China Southern Airlines will start flights to Auckland from Guangzhou via Melbourne in April. Shares fell 1% on Friday to $2.07.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings (FPA): The whiteware maker is rated "outperform" by First NZ Capital analyst Greg Main, quoted on the ShareChat website. He said while earnings remain dependant on a recovery in consumer spending the stock remain "conservatively valued" with high growth margins poised to provide good leverage when the recovery does arrive. Shares were unchanged on Friday at 57 cents.

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO): The energy exploration and production company placed its shares in trading halt today pending a material announcement. While there is no detail on the announcement it is thought to concern Pike River Coal Ltd., in which it owns a 29% stake. Last month 29 miners were killed in an explosion at Pike's West Coast mine, and operations have been halted since. Share last traded at 89 cents before the suspension.

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Pyne Gould Corp. (PGC): The finance company is one step closer to becoming a South Island bank after CBS Canterbury depositors approved the $2.2 billion merger with Pyne Gould Corp.'s Marac finance Unit and South Cross Building Society in a seventh and final vote. Building Society Holdings Ltd., the name of the new merged group, plans to launch in January, list on the NZX by February and apply for a banking license in the middle of next year. Shares were unchanged on Friday at 38 cents.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): New Zealand's biggest telephone company has been selected as a prioritized bidder for government's ultrafast broadband initiative, along with Enabled Networks and Flute Joint Venture. Geographically, Enabled Networks will cover Christchurch and Rangiora, Flute JV represented by Aurora Energy Ltd. will cover Dunedin, and Telecom will cover the remaining the remaining candidate areas including the key Auckland market. This excludes the Northland and Central North Island areas which were awarded to Ultrafast Fibre Ltd. and Northpower Ltd. last week. Shares fell 0.5% on Friday to $2.08.

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC): The Australian lender is facing a raft of banking market reforms, after an inquiry headed by former Australian Reserve Bank chief Bernie Fraser was launched at reforming the sector. The inquiry has taken particular aim at mortgage exit fees and is lobbying for the introduction of "tracker mortgages" and portable bank accounts numbers among some of the changes. Shares rose 2.3% on Friday to $29.55 on the NZX.


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