Stocks to watch: HBY, NZO, OGC, TWR, VLO
Themes of the day: The New Zealand dollar fell to a three-week low of 82.28 U.S. cents as global equity markets weakened and the Swiss central bank acted to drive down the value of the franc, which has been a safe-haven currency in the midst of global financial market turmoil. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.7%, while Germany’s DAX 30 fell 1%. Investors will be watching for Australia’s gross domestic product report today, with growth of 0.9% forecast for the second quarter after a contraction of 1.2% three months earlier.
Hellaby Holdings (HBY): The diversified investment company will ask shareholders at its November annual meeting to boost its pool for directors’ fees to $475,000 from the existing $375,000 as it looks to add a trans-Tasman specialist to its board to aid growth in the Australian market. Hellaby said it doesn’t intend to lift individual directors’ fees. The shares were unchanged at $2.70 and have climbed 32% this year.
New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO): The Royal Commission of inquiry into the Pike River Coal mine explosions is continuing, after international mine safety expert Dave Fiekert told the hearing the mine’s safety procedures were lax. NZ Oil & Gas owned 30% of the Pike River project. Its shares were unchanged at 68 cents in trading yesterday, and have dropped 22% this year.
OceanaGold Corp. (OGC): The gold miner’s shares rose 3.1% yesterday to $2.99 on the NZX yesterday as the price of gold stayed near historic highs. The precious metal rose as high as US$1,912.50 an ounce yesterday as investors looked to park their funds in so-called safe havens, and recently traded at US$1,872.90 an ounce.
Tower Ltd. (TWR): The insurer won’t have to pay out as much as feared to Christchurch homeowners after the High Court last week ruled the Earthquake Commission is liable to pay-out on multiple disasters in one year, rather than just one payment in the period. Finance Minister Bill English yesterday told reporters the worst-case scenario might add an extra $1 billion to the government’s bill. Last week the government added $4 billion to its expected earthquake costs, taking the total Crown exposure to $7.1 billion. Tower shares fell 2.7% to $1.44 in trading yesterday, and have dropped 29% this year.
Velo Capital Ltd. (VLO): Smartphone retail discount platform VoucherMob Ltd. plans to use the Velo Capital for a back-door listing on the stock exchange’s NZAX alternative market for small-cap players. Velo has agreed in principle to buy VoucherMob for $4.36 million in a deal that will give 95% control to the smartphone retailer’s shareholders. Velo’s shares last traded at 0.3 cents apiece in July last year, valuing the company at $861,000.