The analysts and advisers at Forsyth Barr were spot on with their pick for the winner of the Webb Ellis trophy.

Before the tournament started staff laboured into the night to produce a guide which used five predictive tools to conclude the All Blacks would win, giving them a 43 per cent chance of victory.

But the number crunching went awry from there; the Wallabies who lost to the All Blacks in the semifinal were rated next on 21 per cent, with South Africa on 16 per cent and England on 8 per cent who both bowed out in the quarter-finals.

France, who came heart-stoppingly close to toppling the All Blacks, were rated a lowly 6 per cent chance of winning the cup.

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Forsyth Barr will now be hoping to get some value from stumping up for naming rights of Dunedin's new indoor stadium. It was one of the venue success stories of the Cup but because of sponsor rules was known only as Otago Stadium.

Driving up profit

Listed courier and information management firm Freightways is considered a barometer of the economy, which means its improving fortunes are a good sign for the whole country.

The Auckland-based company's net profit rose 19 per cent to $8 million in the three months to September 30, compared with the same period last year.

Freightways said yesterday it was the best first quarter result since the firm floated on the sharemarket in 2003.

Revenue rose 9 per cent to $93 million, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of $16.6 million were 8 per cent higher than in the prior comparable period, it said.

Forsyth Barr analyst Rob Mercer said the result showed that firms were not reliant on a lift in the building sector and were benefiting from an improvement in other areas of the economy, such as retail.

Freightways shares closed up 11c, or 3.3 per cent, at $3.42 last night.

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Star performers

Kathmandu continues to be an analyst favourite, with a new report from a Sydney-based brokerage hailing the outdoor apparel retailer as one of the most impressive performers of the 2011 full-year reporting season.

Linwar Securities' Retail in Detail report, authored by analyst Mark Wade, included the Christchurch-based company, which is listed on both sides of the Tasman, with travel agency Flight Centre and pizza chain Dominos in its best performer category.

The least impressive ASX-listed retail firms were Mothercare, Billabong, Premier, Specialty Fashion and Reject Shop, the report said.

Kathmandu last month reported a 55.2 per cent lift in full-year net profit to $39.1 million, excluding costs associated with its initial public offering in late 2009.

Kathmandu shares closed up 2c at $2.30.

ASX grinds to halt

Trading on the Australian Securities Exchange ground to a halt yesterday because of a technical glitch.

The ASX sent out an alert minutes after the market opened adding that all trades for Thursday were under review.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was halted after falling 0.3 points to 4242.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 0.1 points at 4300.7.

Trading resumed after four hours of downtime.