PublicInvest Research

Author: PublicInvest   |   Latest post: Wed, 12 May 2021, 9:06 AM


PublicInvest Research Headlines - 26 Feb 2021

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US: Weekly jobless claims drop sharply but labor market remains challenged . Jobless claims fell sharply last week despite severe winter storms that swept across Texas and other parts of the South, the Labor Department reported. First-time filings for unemployment insurance totaled 730,000 for the week ended Feb. 20, well below the Dow Jones estimate of 845,000. The total also represented a substantial decrease from the 841,000 the previous week, a number that was revised lower by 20,000. Despite the decline to the lowest since Nov. 28, it was still well above anything the US labor market had seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Continuing claims also fell, decreasing 101,000 to 4.42m, the lowest since March 21 but also much higher than the pre-pandemic norm. (CNBC)

US: GDP grows slightly more than initially estimated in 4Q . Revised data released by the Commerce Department showed US GDP jumped by slightly more than originally estimated in the 4Q of 2020. The Commerce Department said GDP surged up by 4.1% in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 4.0% spike. The upward revision matched economist estimates. The slightly stronger than previously estimated GDP growth reflected upward revisions to residential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and state and local government. However, the upward revisions were partly offset by a modest downward revision to consumer spending, which surged up by 2.4% compared to the previously reported 2.5% jump. Gregory Daco, Chief U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics, said a "worsening health situation, slower employment gains and dwindling fiscal aid limiting the consumer spending advance." "Strong housing activity and resilient business investment helped offset the consumer spending softness at the end of last year," Daco said. (RTT)

US: Pending home sales unexpectedly show steep drop in Jan . With inventory constraints continuing to hold back prospective buyers, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a steep drop in US pending home sales in the month of Jan. NAR said its pending home sales index tumbled by 2.8% to 122.8 in Jan after rising by 0.5% to an upwardly revised 126.4 in Dec. Economists had expected pending home sales to come in unchanged compared to the 0.3% dip originally reported for the previous month. A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale. "Pending home sales fell in Jan because there are simply not enough homes to match the demand on the market," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "That said, there has been an increase in permits and requests to build new homes." (RTT)

EU: Italy consumer confidence improves in Feb. Italy's consumer confidence improved in Feb, survey results from the statistical office Istat showed. The consumer confidence index rose to 101.4 in Feb from 100.7 in January. Economists had expected a score of 101.0. The manufacturing confidence index increased to 99.0 in Feb from 95.6 in the previous month. Economists had forecast a score of 96.0. The economic sentiment index grew to 91.5 in February from 83.4 in the prior month. The business confidence rose to 93.2 in February from 88.3 in the preceding month. In construction, the sentiment index rose to 141.9 from 138.0 in the prior month. The indicator for services sector grew to 85.7 from 82.2 in Jan and that for retail increased to 93.8 from 88.3. (RTT)

Hong Kong: Jan exports jump most since 1992 on Asia boost . Hong Kong exports soared the most since 1992 as trade picked up across Asia due to the timing of the Lunar New Year and a wider economic recovery on growing optimism about vaccines. Exports climbed 44% from a year ago in Jan, better than the 30.5% median forecast among economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Imports also rose 37.7%, leaving a trade deficit of HKD25.2bn (USD3.9bn), the government said. Exports to China have been a key driver of Hong Kong’s nascent economic recovery as the mainland continues to lead the regional rebound from the pandemic. While Hong Kong’s economy posted a record 6.1% contraction overall in 2020, a surge in exports to the mainland beginning in Sept helped the city to return to QoQ growth in the latter half of the year. (Bloomberg)

Japan: Leading index falls less than estimated . Japan's leading index declined less than initially estimated in Dec, final data from the Cabinet Office showed. The leading index, which measures the future economic activity, fell to 95.3 in Dec from 96.1 in Nov. In the initial estimate, the reading was 94.9. The coincident index decreased to 88.3 in Dec from 89.0 in the previous month. The initial estimate was 87.8. The lagging index remained unchanged at 90.8 in December. According to the initial estimate, the reading was 91.7. (RTT)

Taiwan: Industrial production surges; jobless rate steady . Taiwan's industrial production accelerated and the unemployment rate remained stable, official figures showed. Industrial production rose an 18.81% YoY in Jan, after a 10.29% increase in Dec, data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs revealed. Manufacturing output surged 19.67% annually in Jan, after a 10.80% rise in the previous month. Production in mining and quarrying gained 17.68%. Output of electricity and gas supply, and water supply grew 8.36% and 0.76%, respectively. (RTT)


MyEG: To unveil at-home saliva-based Covid testing on March 1. MY E.G. Services (MYEG) will be introducing an at home, deep throat saliva-based Covid-19 testing in Malaysia starting March 1. The initiative, which is in collaboration with health screening provider BP Healthcare, would be fast, affordable and convenient as sample collection could be done from the safety and comforts of one’s home or workplace. (SunBiz)

FGV: Takeover sees final extension of offer date to March 15. The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has extended its offer period to March 15, 2021 in obtaining the 90% of shares of FGV Holdings in its mandatory take-over. Felda had managed to secure 76.32% or 2.78m shares from the 90% needed. In the event the offerer receives valid acceptances resulting in the offerer and its associates holding in aggregate 90% or more. (SunBiz)

Kerjaya Prospek: 4Q profit down 23%, construction ops almost back to normal. Kerjaya Prospek Group net profit for the 4Q ended Dec 31, 2020 dropped 23.28% to RM27.82m on lower revenue recorded. EPS fell to 2.26sen from 2.95sen. The quarterly revenue was down 7.29% at RM248.85m. (The Edge)

Sarawak Consolidated Industries: Posted solid Q4 results. Sarawak Consolidated Industries (SCIB) posted a revenue of RM185.60m for its 4Q ended Dec 2020, a increase of 542.5% from RM28.89m recorded same quarter last year. Net profit rose 3207.62% at RM30.40m compared to RM919,000 recorded for Q4 FY19. The noteworthy increase was mainly derived from its EPCC segment in the Middle-East regions. (Business Times)

DNeX: Posts RM15.1m profit amid impairment reversal. Dagang NeXchange (DNeX) returned to the black with a net profit of RM15.1m for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2020 versus a net loss of RM3.73m recorded in the previous year’s corresponding quarter, helped by an impairment reversal. The reversal of non-cash impairment loss on intangible assets totalled RM13.5m. (The Edge)

Ekovest: 2Q net profit down 30% QoQ. Ekovest net profit declined 29.64% to RM7.64m in the 2QFY21 from RM10.86m in the immediate preceding quarter of 1QFY21, despite stronger revenue, due to weaker contribution from its construction and toll segments. Construction segment for the quarter reported a lower gross profit of RM34.22m compared with RM39.46m in 1QFY21. (The Edge)

UMW: Net profit fell to RM204m in FY20. UMW Holdings (UMW) net profit by fell more than half to RM204.6m in the FY20 from RM454.4m in FY19. Revenue declined to RM9.55bn from RM11.76bn previously, mainly due to lower revenue recorded in all of its main business segments due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s adverse impact. (SunBiz)

Telco (Neutral): MCMC to regulate 5G wholesale pricing. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will regulate the wholesale pricing of the fifth generation (5G) technology standard for broadband cellular network as well as the Government of Malaysia Special Purpose Vehicle. MCMC would also ensure equal access be given to all under licensed telecommunication companies to disable monopoly. (The Edge)

Market Update

The FBM KLCI might open lower today after a violent sell-off in US government bonds ricocheted through markets on Thursday, sending share prices lower and handing tech stocks their worst day since October. The Dow dropped 559.85 points, or 1.8%, to 31402.01, pulling back from Wednesday's all-time high. The S&P 500 shed 96.09 points, or 2.4%, to 3829.34, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 478.53 points, or 3.5%, to 13119.43, notching its biggest one-day pullback since October. Labor Department data released Thursday showed the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week. Across the Atlantic, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.4%.

Back home, the FBM KLCI closed 23.99 points or 1.54% higher at 1,581.54 as optimism on corporate earnings boosted investor sentiment. In the region, most major benchmarks finished the day up. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6%, snapping a three day losing streak, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.2%. South Korea’s Kospi Index rallied 3.5% after its central bank kept interest rates at historic lows, citing a need to continue supporting the country’s economy.

Source: PublicInvest Research - 26 Feb 2021

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