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Stocks to watch: AIA, CAV, CCC, HBY, MET, NZE, NZR, NPX, SKC

Stocks to watch: AIA, CAV, CCC, HBY, MET, NZE, NZR, NPX, SKC

Aug. 23 (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:

Earnings season continues with Auckland International Airport Ltd. lifting underlying profit, beating its own guidance, while Metlifecare Ltd. posted a slump in earnings as it booked changes in the value of its property portfolio. Halfway through the earnings season, company results are just ahead of brokers’ estimates.

Global markets managed to gain, although risk sentiment was still very fragile. On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.03% to 1123.82, while Europe's Stoxx 600 rose 0.8% higher to 224.90. Yields on 10 year U.S. Treasuries hovered near record lows at 2.09%, and gold hit a record high of US$1,893.91 an ounce before paring back to recently trade at US$1,889.50.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is set to release its survey of inflation expectations for the September quarter today, which markets will be watching closely after second quarter inflation numbers overshot the central bank's original estimates.

Auckland International Airport Ltd. (AIA): The country's busiest gateway has reported a 15.1% increase in underlying profit to $120.87 million in the 12 months to June 30, ahead of the guidance. The company declared a final dividend of 4.7 cents per share, increasing the total dividend for the year to 8.7 cents per share, up from 8.2 cents a year ago. AIA shares fell 0.2% yesterday to $2.215.

Cavalier Corp. (CAV): The listed carpet maker posted a 4% increase in annual net profit and revenue rose 4%, thanks to a strong performance in Australia, while tax adjustments pushed the bottom line up 60%. Net profit for the year ended June 30 rose to $18.2 million from $11.4 million the previous year although the result was boosted by a $0.9 million positive tax adjustment while the previous result was depressed by a $5.3 million tax charge. CAV shares fell 1.4% yesterday to $3.50.

Hellaby Holdings Ltd. (HBY): The diversified investment group posted a 49% increase in full-year profit on improved earnings from footwear and equipment, and lower interest costs after its raised equity capital and repaid debt. Net profit rose to $15.4 million from $10.3 million a year earlier. HBY shares rose 6.3% yesterday to $2.55.

Metlifecare Ltd. (MET): The retirement village operator reported a 69% fall in full-year profit after booking strong gains in its portfolio a year ago bolstered its 2010 figure. Net profit was $20.8 million in the 12 months ended June 30, down from $67.5 million a year ago. The slump in bottom line profit came as it booked a $27.5 million gain in the unrealised value of its investment properties, compared to a $73.2 million gain a year earlier. MET shares were unchanged yesterday at $1.95.

New Zealand Experience Ltd. (NZE): The operator of the Rainbow's End fun park posted a 3.3% fall in net profit to $1.48 million for the year ended June 30, reflecting amendments to the park's land lease and government changes to tax depreciation on buildings. Visitor numbers rose by 20,000 in the year to 256,500. NZE shares were unchanged yesterday at 40 cents.

New Zealand Refining Co. (NZR): The operator of the country’s only oil refinery posted a 7.5% increase net earnings to $31.2 million for the six months ended June 30, on a 16.9% increase in half-year revenue to $157.9 million. The improved earnings allowed the company to reduce debt to around $54 million at June 30 from $86 million. NZR shares fell 1.5% yesterday to $3.20.

Nuplex Industries Ltd. (NPX): The industrial chemicals and resins maker rose 6.8% yesterday to $2.53 after it posted a 3.6% increase in full-year profit, beating its guidance, as sales rose and the company recognised fewer impairments and one-time costs. Profit rose to $66.5 million, or 34.2 cents a share, in the 12 months ended June 30, up from $64.2 million, or 33.7 cents, a year earlier.

SkyCity Entertainment Group (SKC): The casino and hotel operator's A$250 million development plans in Adelaide are in doubt after South Australian government said it would not agree to a review of gambling taxes in exchange for the company's investment, according to a Fairfax Media report. SKC shares fell 1.4% yesterday to $3.46.

(BusinessDesk)

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