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Stocks to watch: ALF, GFF, NZS, PGW, POT, PPG, TWR, TUR

Stocks to watch: ALF, GFF, NZS, PGW, POT, PPG, TWR, TUR

Aug. 30 (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: The government statistician is set to release building consents numbers for July today, which the market will be sifting through for signs of a developing trend after last month's data fell suddenly, snapping three months of gains. Expect risk-on trading on the NZX today, with the market likely to again take its lead from global equities, which rallied strongly on news of a Greek bank merger and stronger-than-expected U.S. consumer spending figures for July. On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 2.7% to 1,208.13, and Europe's Stoxx 600 closed 1.2% higher at 228.28.

Allied Farmers Ltd. (ALF): The rural service provider which failed to transform itself into a major lender continues to be corroded by the Hanover Finance assets, with the company reporting a $43 million loss in the year to June, according to a Fairfax Media report. The company also announced a further $29.7m write-down in the value of the Hanover loans. From a supposed value in 2009 of $396 million, the Hanover assets were now worth just $93.6m. ALF shares were unchanged at 0.8 cents.

Goodman Fielder Ltd. (GFF): The food manufacturer said underlying annual net profit declined 17.3% after a significant decline in the second half, particularly in its baking and dairy divisions. Net profit before a $300 million write-down in the value of its baking division fell to $133.3 million for the year ended June 30 compared with $161.1 million the previous year. GFF shares fell 1% yesterday to 98 cents.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay Ltd. (NZS): The South American dairy farmer said its annual loss widened after it spent more on feed and running its farms. It will return to profit in 2012. The net loss was US$8.7 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from a loss of US$7.9 million a year earlier. Revenues jumped 91% to US$43 million, mainly reflecting an increase in milk sales. NZS shares were unchanged yesterday at 66 cents.

PGG Wrightson Ltd. (PGW): The rural services company posted a loss after writing down its wool business and supply contract to Silver Fern Farms Ltd. and other one-time items totalling $47 million. The loss was $30.7 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from a profit of $23.3 million a year earlier. PGW shares 4.4% yesterday to 44 cents.

Port of Tauranga Ltd. (POT): The country's biggest export hub rose 4.3% to a fresh historic high of $9.70 yesterday after it said Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s second-largest container line by capacity, would begin new services to the port staring in October. The service, which will link New Zealand and Australia with North and Central America, is expected to boost the port's container volumes by 25%.

Postie Plus Group Ltd. (PPG): The clothing chain said fourth-quarter sales fell 6.3% as a warm start to winter sapped sales of cold-weather garments. Sales in the three months ended Aug. 1 fell to $29.5 million, the company said in a statement. That resulted in annual sales growing a lower-than-expected 1.7% to $115.7 million. PPG shares were unchanged yesterday at 22 cents.

Tower Ltd. (GPG): The general insurer controlled by Guinness Peat Group says earnings are likely to meet analyst estimates of between $22 million and $28 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30. The company said it was still negotiating with reinsurers to reinstate its catastrophe cover for next year, and expects higher premiums as a result. TWR shares rose 1.5% yesterday to $1.38.

Turners & Growers Ltd. (TUR): The fruit marketer controlled by Guinness Peat Group tripled first-half profit and flagged better annual earnings, as its major shareholder talks to potential buyers of the stake. The company made a net profit of $6.9 million in the six months ended June 30, more than triple its $2.2 million a year earlier. Revenue surged 14% to $331 million. TUR shares were unchanged at $1.17.


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