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Stocks to watch: GEL, GPG, NZO, PGC, PGW, PPL, WHS

Stocks to watch: GEL, GPG, NZO, PGC, PGW, PPL, WHS

Dec. 29 (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 rose in the U.S. amid expectations the world’s biggest economy will recover and as the greenback weakened in the face of stronger crude oil and other commodity prices. Stocks rose in light Christmas-New Year trading on Wall Street even after figures showed consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in December while home prices fell more than expected. New Zealand stocks will resume trading after a Christmas break that saw China raise interest rates 25 basis points to 5.81% to cool inflation, a move that may cool demand for raw materials. Locally, Eftpos company Paymark reported that the value and number of transactions at retailers at the traditional Boxing Day sales was well down on 2009 levels.

Glass Earth Gold Ltd. (GEL): The gold exploration company raised C$3million selling about 10 million units at 30 Canadian cents apiece in the non-brokered portion of its private placement. Each unit comprises one ordinary share and half a share purchase warrant. The warrants entitle holders to buy shares at 50 cents each. Glass Earth expects to complete the balance of the capital raising in early January. The proceeds are to fund mineral exploration and general working capital. The shares, which trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NZX, were last at 39 New Zealand cents on Dec. 17 and have fallen about 2% this year.

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Guinness Peat Group (GPG): New independent director Rob Campbell has given a vote of confidence in the board’s ability to restructure the investment company, buying 100,000 shares at 70 cents apiece on Christmas Eve. He’s one of four independent directors brought in as part of shareholder action earlier this year to stop former chairman Ron Brierley and Gary Weiss from carving up the company along geographical lines. The shares were unchanged at 71 cents when they last traded on Christmas Eve.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): Crude oil gained to the highest level since October 2008 this week, touching US$91.88 a barrel and held its gains above US$91 yesterday in New York. NZOG shares traded at 84 cents on Dec. 24. They have tumbled about 50% this year, with the major drop coming in the wake of the Pike River Coal mine explosion, which led to the receivership of the 29%-owned mining venture.

PGG Wrightson Ltd. (PGW): New Zealand's largest rural services group jumped about 17% to 56 cents on Dec. 24 after China's Agria Corp. and New Hope Group teamed up to take control of the company with a partial takeover offer at 60 cents a share. Wrightson issued a ‘don’t sell’ notice pending an independent assessment of the offer. Pyne Gould Corp. (PGC) rose 2 cents to 39 cents. The finance company signed a ‘lock-up deed’ with Agria for its 18.3% holding in Wrightson. Pyne Gould willl book a $30 million loss in the sale of the Wrightson shares, resulting in a first-half loss of between $31 million and $33 million.

Pumpkin Patch Ltd. (PPL): Forsyth Barr analyst Guy Hallwright has cut his forecast earnings for the children’s wear retailer amid a deteriorating retail environment in Australia and soft conditions in New Zealand, according to the Sharechat website. He expects the retailer will report full-year profit expected of $22.5 million, down 18% from a year earlier. The shares rose 1.9% to $1.64 in trading on Christmas Eve, and have dropped 21% this year.

Warehouse Group (WHS): Consumers spent less at this year’s Boxing Day sales than in 2009, ending a lacklustre holiday period for retailers, according to data from EFTPOS transaction processor Paymark. The volume of transactions fell 6.7% on Boxing Day compared to a year ago, and the value was down 2.8%. Shares in the country’s biggest listed retailer fell 1.4% to $3.54 when they last traded on Christmas Eve.


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