PublicInvest Research

Author: PublicInvest   |   Latest post: Tue, 19 Nov 2019, 9:18 AM


PublicInvest Research Headlines - 15 Mar 2019

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US: Import and export prices climb more than expected in Feb. A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed US import and export prices both rose by more than anticipated in the month of Feb. The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6% in Feb after inching up by a revised 0.1% in Jan. The bigger than expected increase in import prices came as prices for fuel imports surged up by 4.9% in Feb, extending the 4.1% spike in Jan. The report said export prices also increased by 0.6% in Feb after falling by a revised 0.5% in Jan. Export prices had been expected to tick up by 0.1% compared to the 0.6% decrease originally reported for the previous month. (RTT)

US: New home sales pull back much more than expected in Jan. After reporting a notable rebound in new home sales over the two previous months, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing a substantial pullback in US new home sales in the month of Jan. The Commerce Department said new home sales plunged by 6.9% to an annual rate of 607,000 in Jan from a revised rate of 652,000 in Dec. The report showed a steep drop in new home sales in the Midwest, which plummeted by 28.6%, while new home sales in the South and Northeast slumped by 15.1% and 11.4%, respectively. On the other hand, the Commerce Department said new home sales in the West surged up by 27.8% during the month. (RTT)

US, China: Trump-Xi summit will not happen in March, Mnuchin says. A summit to seal a trade deal between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will not happen at the end of March as previously discussed because more work is needed in US China negotiations, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday. Mnuchin said both sides were “working in good faith” to try to reach a deal “as quickly as possible.” “There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re very comfortable with where we are,” Mnuchin said. “I don’t think there’s anything significantly different on the currency issue from where we were last time.” (Reuters)

UK: Brexit delay adds another dimension of damage to economy. A delay to Brexit this week may be better than the alternatives, but that’s cold comfort for the UK economy. Parliament voted Wednesday to rule out leaving the European Union without a deal, seen by most economists as the worst case. While another vote Thursday is likely to buy time for an orderly divorce, that would hurt, too, by prolonging the uncertainty for businesses and consumers. Investment decisions are already being put off, and more deferrals are likely. BOE policy makers have already lowered their forecast for business investment to a 2.75% decline for 2019, from the 2% gain predicted previously, and that assumes a smooth exit this month. (Bloomberg)

China: Industrial production growth slows in jan-feb; retail sales gain steady. China industrial production grew at the slowest pace in nearly two decades in the first two months of the year, official data showed on Thursday. Industrial production rose 5.3% YoY in the Jan to Feb period, which was less than the 5.6% gain economists had forecast. The pace of growth was reportedly the weakest since 2002. Retail sales growth remained near 15-year lows in the two-month period, down 8.2% YoY. Economists had forecast 6.2% growth. (RTT)

Japan: Global gloom may force central bank to temper its outlook. The BOJ is likely to stand pat on monetary policy on Friday but temper its optimism that robust exports and factory output will underpin growth, a nod to heightened overseas risks that threaten to derail a fragile economic recovery. Such weak signs have forced major central banks to pause in raising interest rates and cast doubt on the BOJ’s repeatedly-stated assessment that overseas economies “continue to grow steadily”. Many in the BOJ expect Japan’s economy to emerge from the current soft patch in the second half of this year, when Beijing’s stimulus plans could lift Chinese demand and underpin global growth, sources said. (Reuters)


Pesona Metro: Bags RM238.45m apartment job in Cyberjaya. Pesona Metro Holdings has bagged a RM238.45m contract from MCT's unit for the construction of three blocks of apartment in Cyberjaya, together with mechanical and electrical works. Pesona’s unit Pesona Metro SB accepted the LoA today from MCT’s unit Lakefront Residence SB, who is the developer of the project. The project involves the construction of two blocks of buildings with 862 units, and a third block containing 449 units. It is expected to be completed in 27 months. (The Edge)

Nestle Malaysia: Unit sued RM139m for alleged unlawful use of QR code. A wholly-owned unit of Nestle (Malaysia) has been sued for RM139.34m by Mad Labs SB over the allegedly unauthorized and/or unlawful use of the latter's QR code on Nestle’s products and packaging. Nestle Products SB (NPSB) had been served the writ of summons and statement of claim. Among others, Mad Labs is seeking a declaration that NPSB has wrongfully and or unlawfully used or printed its QR Code on its products and/or packaging, and a declaration that NPSB is liable for the losses and damages it suffered. (The Edge)

Econpile: Seeks RM80.1m in progress claims from ASM Development. Econpile Holdings is seeking RM80.1m in progress claims from ASM Development (KL) SB as the project employer for a RM280m mixed development for which 80% of work has been completed. Its subsidiary Econpile (M) SB (EMSB) had issued a Notice of Determination to ASM, for foundation and substructure works for a mixed development in Kuala Lumpur. Among the grounds for the determination of the contract was ASM’s interference with or obstruction of the issuance of Interim Certificates in respect of EMSB’s Progress Claims amounting to RM80.1m. (The Edge)

Utusan Melayu: Sells factory units for RM13.5m. Utusan Melayu (M) has disposed of two adjoining semi-detached factories in Taman Shamelin Perkasa, Cheras for RM13.5m to a unit of Berjaya Sports Toto. Its unit Utusan Publications & Distributors SB (UP&D) entered into a SPA with Magna Mahsuri SB for the disposal. The original cost of investment for the two factories in 1994 was RM4.32m and is currently subject to a legal charge in favour of Maybank. Utusan plans to utilise the sale proceeds for working capital, which may include payment to creditors, statutory obligations, administrative expenses and other operating expenses. (The Edge)

Revenue Group: Unit gets nod to undertake money lending activities. Revenue Group said it has fulfilled the conditions for a money lending licence. This was confirmed by the the Housing and Local Government Ministry in a letter to the group’s unit Revenue Harvest SB. The licence, to operate as a money lender under the Moneylenders Act 1951, will be issued upon payment of the licence fee within 30 days, Revenue Group said. “The approval allows Revenue Harvest to undertake any business of those relating to money lending activities,” it said. (The Edge)

Market Update

The FBM KLCI might open flat today after US stocks ticked lower on Thursday, ending a three-day winning streak that had carried the S&P 500 to its highest level since November. Elsewhere, Treasuries slipped and Brent crude faded from a four-month high, slowing a rally for European energy stocks, after talk of a delay to a top-level summit between the US and China hit sentiment. Reports that a meeting between the presidents of China and the US would be pushed back into April from March — first carried by Bloomberg — were reflected by a range of assets. The S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite were down 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a gain of less than 0.1% gain on a strong day for shares in Apple and Visa. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 put in a stronger showing, up 0.8% overall, with hopes that disruption from a disorderly Brexit could be avoided after the UK parliament voted against leaving the EU with no deal. Most sectors were in the black, led by real estate and household goods. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.4%, the DAX added 0.04% while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.8%.

Back home, the FBM KLCI index lost 3.72 points or 0.22% to 1,674.52 points on Thursday. Trading volume increased to 4.77bn worth RM2.75bn. Market breadth was positive with 491 gainers as compared to 387 losers. The regional markets finished mixed with the Hang Seng gained 0.15%, while the Shanghai Composite led the Nikkei 225 lower. They fell 1.20% and 0.02% respectively.

Source: PublicInvest Research - 15 Mar 2019

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