Stocks to watch at the open

Air New Zealand has increased its stake in Virgin Australia and while Coca Cola product volume declines, prices are still on the up.

Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH)

Air New Zealand has been approved to increase its shareholding in Virgin to 25.9%.

The additional 3% of shares to be acquired to take Air New Zealand to their new limit will be acquired under an existing forward contract.

Given the troubles Virgin has faced, continuing interest from Air New Zealand and Etihad highlights the confidence international airlines have in the strategy pursued by Virgin.

Virgin reached 47 cents in mid-September but has given up ground in recent weeks to be trading at 42.5 cents.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL)

A slowdown in soft-drink sales continues despite Coca-Cola’s quest to maximise profit through a focus on pricing and pack sizes according to Credit Suisse.

Australia’s obesity rates continue to rise as we fail to slow down our consumption of foods nutritionists would have on the black list. While the promotion of healthier alternatives is on the up, the trend is to avoid these foods.

The focus of investors has been on declining product volumes, but prices are still rising — providing plenty of upside for the soft-drink retailer.

Credit Suisse have a target price of $15.10. Other analysts estimate it to fall to around the $12 mark.