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Stocks to watch: AMP, APN, MHI, POT, PLU, TEL, TUA, WFD

Stocks to watch: AMP, APN, MHI, POT, PLU, TEL, TUA, WFD

Aug. 19 (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: Today's international travel, migration and credit card billings data for July will take a back seat to offshore developments, after a raft of weaker manufacturing data and a gloomy assessment for the U.S. from global banker Morgan Stanley saw global equity markets tumble.

On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 4.8% to 1,136.48, and Europe's Stoxx 600 Index fell 4.7% to 226.70. The price of gold spiked to US$1825.90 an ounce, up from US$1795.39 yesterday, and the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries dropped 8.7 basis points to 2.083%, near their lowest level since the global financial crisis.

AMP Ltd. (AMP): The wealth manager's local unit reported a 32% decline in first-half earnings amid dwindling profit margins, with net profit coming in at $28 million in the six months ended June 30, down from $41 million a year earlier although slightly above market expectations. AMP shares rose 2.7% yesterday to $5.35.

APN News & Media Ltd. (APN): The newspaper, radio, and outdoor media company fell 7.1% yesterday to $1.05 after it posted a first-half net loss of A$98.3 million, compared to a profit of A$39 million a year earlier. The result included non-cash pre-tax impairment of A$156 million related to the company’s New Zealand newspapers. Once exceptional items are stripped out, earnings before interest and tax fell 24% to A$66.5 million. Underlying revenues were flat at A$508.1 million.

Michael Hill International Ltd. (MHI): The jeweller reported a 32.6% increase in net profit to $34.5 million in the 12 months ended June 30, according to a statement file with the NZX today. Revenue from ordinary activities rose 10.3% in the period to $489 million, and a final dividend of 3 cents a shares was declared. MHI shares rose 1.2% yesterday to 89 cents.

Port of Tauranga Ltd. (POT): The port operator reported a 17% increase in underlying annual net profit to $57.9 million on growth in volumes of logs, containers, fertiliser and dairy products. Sales jumped 25% to $185 million. Net income, including a deferred tax adjustment, was $58.4 million. POT shares rose 1.1% yesterday to $9.38.

Pulse Utilities Ltd. (PLU): The NZAX-listed low-budget electricity retailer's shareholders have approved a rescue deal that will give control of the company to Buller Electricity Ltd. in exchange for capital to repay debt and expand. Buller will inject $6.5 million to lift its stake to 73% from about 8.5% currently. PLU shares were unchanged yesterday at 15 cents.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): The country's largest phone company, which plans to split itself up in order to tap government funding for a national broadband network, lifted underlying earnings 2.1% as it continued its cost-cutting programme. Net profit was $386 million in the 12 months ended June 30, compared to $380 million a year ago. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 2.1% to $1.8 billion, beating the $1.75 billion forecast by Forsyth Barr. TEL shares fell 1.5% yesterday to $2.605.

Turners Auctions Ltd. (TUA): The vehicle auctioneer lifted first-half profit 12% despite sales falling 3% with the used car business remaining "challenging". Net profit for the six months ended June 30 rose to $1.6 million while sales fell to $34.9 million due to a 9% reduction in sales of used Japanese imports by the Turners Fleet division. TUA shares rose 5.1% yesterday to $1.45.

Wakefield Health Ltd. (WFD): The hospital operator declared its latest takeover bid for Norfolk Investments Ltd. unconditional after gaining 86% acceptances. The $3.80 per share bid, which valued Norfolk at $24.2 million, was conditional on Wakefield gaining more than 50% acceptances by yesterday. WFD shares were unchanged yesterday at $4.91.

(BusinessDesk) 09:24:46

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