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Stocks to watch: AIA, FBU, NZO, NZX, SKL, THL

Stocks to watch: AIA, FBU, NZO, NZX, SKL, THL

Dec. 15 (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 equity markets gave up their recent gains after European debt fears reared their heads again, after Moody's Investor Service said it might downgrade Spain's credit rating. In late afternoon trade the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.5% to 1,235.63, while in Europe the Stoxx 600 fell 0.4% to 276.53. The uncertainty in the market saw the U.S. dollar rise as investor fled to the relative safe haven of the greenback, which resulted in the New Zealand dollar dropping through the key 74 U.S. cent support level. It was last trading at 73.79 U.S. cents, from 74.64 cents yesterday, its lowest level since early October. The National Bank business confidence survey and Westpac consumer confidence survey for December are expected to be released today. Both measures are broadly expected to come in weaker.

Auckland International Airport Ltd. (AIA): A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the $27.7 million sale of Queenstown Airport shares to Auckland International Airport is set to be given to members of the Queenstown community today. The findings of the report will be discussed at a council meeting tomorrow ahead of public consultation process to find community views on the deal. Air New Zealand Ltd. and a local business group are opposed to the sale and are challenging it in court. The shares rose 0.5% yesterday to $2.11.

Fletcher Building Ltd. (FBU): New Zealand's biggest construction company yesterday made a hostile bid to acquire Australia’s Crane Group Ltd. for A$870 million in stock and cash. Fletcher already owns 14.9% stake in the takeover target. The shares fell 1.3% yesterday to $7.75.

NZ Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZX): The energy exploration and production company fell 4.7% yesterday to 81 cents, its lowest level in over five years, as the receivership of Pike River Coal, in which it owns a 29% stake and holds a number of options and debt lines, continued to weigh on the stock.

NZX Ltd. (NZX): The securities market operator was unchanged at $1.45 after antitrust authorities across the Tasman cleared the way for the A$8.4 billion merger between the Australian Stock Exchange and Singapore Stock Exchange. If the deal goes through NZX faces the risk of being marginalised by the scope of the ASX-SGX capital market.

Skellerup Holdings (SKL): The rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer revised its earnings forecast upwards, with net profit expected to be in the range of between $18.5 million and $19.5 million for the year ended June 30, up from a previous expectation of between $16 million and $17 million. The shares rose 3.9% yesterday to $1.07, their highest level since June 2007.

Tourism Holdings (THL): The camper van rental company is rated "accumulate" after its acquisition of U.S. recreational vehicle rentals business Road Bear, according to Rob Mercer at Forsyth Barr, quoted on the ShareChat website. He said the $22.7 million expansion into the world's largest economy is sized so that the company can leverage it resources and experience overseas without placing a strain on the existing business. The shares fell 2.5% to 77 cents yesterday.

(BusinessDesk)

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