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Stocks to watch: AIR, AIA, MET, NZO, OGC, TEL, VHP

Stocks to watch: AIR, AIA, MET, NZO, OGC, TEL, VHP

Aug. 24 (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: Merchandise trade figures for July are expected show a $150 million deficit in the month, although the annual figure is seen coming in at a $1.06 billion surplus, according to a Reuters poll. Equity markets rose on talk the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce a third round of quantitative easing after weaker factory and housing data. On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 2.9%. Commodities continued to show signs of recovery, with the 19-commodity Thompson Reuters Jefferies CRB index gaining 0.8% to 338.43.

Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR): The national airline carried 2.8% more passengers last month than in July 2010. The airline said it carrier 1.15 million passengers in July, underpinned by short-haul passengers, which rose 4.1% to 1.011 million, with a 3.2% increase in domestic passengers, and a 6.7% rise in trans-Tasman passengers. AIR shares were unchanged yesterday at $1.10.

Auckland International Airport Ltd. (AIA): The country's busiest gateway rose 0.5% yesterday to $2.225 after it posted a 15% gain in underlying profit, driven by a jump in earnings from retailing at its new departures area and increased airfield income. Profit excluding revaluations and other one-time items rose to $120.9 million compared to $105 million a year earlier, with sales up 9.6% to $397.7 million.

Metlifecare Ltd. (MET): Managing director Alan Edwards says the retirement village operator is in a strong position to take advantage of the looming baby-boomer migration into retirement villages after two years of paying down debt. The comments came after the company reported a 69% fall in full-year profit after booking strong gains in its portfolio a year ago bolstered its 2010 figure. MET shares were unchanged yesterday at $1.95.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The energy company posted a full-year net loss of $75.9 million, reflecting provisions and losses related to the failed Pike River Mine venture. Operating revenue was $106.5 million. The shares were unchanged at 62 cents yesterday.

OceanaGold Corp. (OGC): Having peaked at over US$1,900 an ounce, gold prices appear to be coming off the boil somewhat as fears the global economy is spiraling towards a recession ease ahead of the Jackson Hole central bankers' summit on Friday. The precious metal recently traded at US$1,832.40. Share in OGC, which operates the Reefton and Macraes goldfields, rose 2.9% yesterday to $2.82.

Telecom Corp. (TEL): International ratings agency Standard & Poor's is

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