PublicInvest Research

Author: PublicInvest   |   Latest post: Thu, 5 Aug 2021, 10:17 AM


PublicInvest Research Headlines - 5 Mar 2021

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US: 4Q productivity weakest since 1981. US worker productivity fell at its sharpest pace in nearly 40 years in 4Q, the government said. The Labor Department said nonfarm productivity dropped at a 4.2% annualized rate in 4Q, instead of the previously reported 4.8% pace. That was still the deepest rate of contraction since the 2Q81. Compared to the 4Q19, productivity increased at a 2.4% pace, instead of the 2.5% rate reported last month. The Covid-19 pandemic has hollowed out lower-wage industries, like leisure and hospitality. Hours worked rose at a 10.1% rate in 4Q. (Reuters)

US: Factory orders surge, but business spending on equipment slowing. New orders for US-made goods increased more than expected in Jan, pointing to a sustained recovery in manufacturing even as the pace of business spending on equipment is slowing. The Commerce Department said that factory orders shot up 2.6% after rising 1.6% in Dec. Orders increased 1.3% on a YoY basis. Manufacturing has been driven by strong demand for goods, like electronics and furniture as 23.2% of the labor force works from home because of the virus. (Reuters)

EU: Jobless rate remains stable in January. The euro area jobless rate remained unchanged in January, the Eurostat reported. The unemployment rate held steady at 8.1% and up from 7.4% in the same period last year. The rate was forecast to rise to 8.3%. The number of people out of work increased by 8,000 from December. Compared to last year, unemployment rose by 1.01m. The number of unemployed totaled 13.28m. The youth unemployment rate came in at 17.1% versus 17.2% in the previous month. The overall unemployment rate in the EU was 7.3% in Jan (RTT)

EU: Retail sales fall more than expected. Eurozone retail sales declined more than expected in January on weak non-food products turnover, data from Eurostat showed. The retail sales volume decreased 5.9% MoM, in contrast to a 1.8% rise in December. Economists had forecast sales to drop moderately by 1.1%. Sales of food, drinks and tobacco gained 1.1%, while non-food product sales were down 12%. Automotive fuel in specialized stores fell 1.1%. YoY, retail sales plunged 6.4%, reversing December's 0.9% increase. Economists had forecast sales to drop 1.2%. (RTT)

UK: Construction sector recovers in Feb. The UK construction sector returned to positive territory in Feb, survey results from IHS Markit and Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply showed. The construction PMI rose more-than-expected to 53.3 from 49.2 in Jan. The expected level was 51.0. Residential work remained the strongest area of growth in Feb, although the speed of recovery slowed slightly. The slowdown in house building was more than offset by the sharpest rise in commercial work since last Sept and a slower fall in civil engineering activity. The survey showed that new order volumes increased for the ninth straight month in Feb. (RTT)

Japan: Consumer confidence highest in 1 Year. Japan's consumer confidence rose to the highest level in one year in Feb, data from the Cabinet Office showed. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the consumer confidence index increased to 33.8 in Feb from 29.6 in Jan. The latest index was the highest since Feb 2020, when it was 38.3. Among the four sub-indexes of the consumer confidence index, the index for overall livelihood rose to 36.3 in February and the index reflecting households' willingness to buy durable consumer goods surged to 36.1. (RTT)

Hong Kong: Retail sales decline further in Jan. Hong Kong's retail sales declined further in Jan, figures from the Census and Statistics Department showed. The retail sales volume declined 14.5% YoY in Jan, following a 14.0% fall in Dec. The value of retail sales decreased 13.6% annually in Jan, following a 13.3% decline in Dec. Sales value of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts declined 31.7% annually in Jan. Sales of clothing, footwear and allied products fell 23.4% and those of other consumer goods decreased 19.5%. (RTT)

India: Services activity increases in Feb. India's service sector activity expanded at a faster rate in Feb, survey results from IHS Markit showed. The IHS Markit services PMI rose to 55.3 in Feb from 52.8 in Jan. Economists had forecast a score of 53.0. New work intake increased for the fifth month in a row in Feb. New export orders declined for the twelfth straight month, albeit at the weakest rate since March 2020. Employment decreased further in Feb. Backlogs of work was was solid and quickened from Jan. Input prices rose in Feb and the rate of inflation accelerated to the strongest since Feb 2013. Selling prices remained stable. (RTT)


Tenaga Nasional (Outperform, TP: RM12.42): Buys 39% stake in rooftop solar plants in Vietnam . Tenaga Nasional is buying a 39% stake in a 21.6 megawatt power project comprising five rooftop solar plants in Vietnam from Singapore's Sunseap Group. The acquisition would extend its collaboration with Sunseap beyond Malaysia and Singapore cross border partnership, capturing the rapid growth in the Vietnam renewable energy (RE) market. TNB president and chief executive officer Datuk Ir. Baharin Din said the acquisition would be another step forward towards achieving the company's ambition to grow its RE and utility businesses in Southeast Asia. (New Straits Times)

Sasbadi Inks RM722,400 contract with KEMAS to supply English activity books . Sasbadi Holdings has inked a RM722,400 contract with the Community Development Department (KEMAS) to publish, design, print, bind, supply and deliver the English activity book for six-year-old nursery care centre children. The educational materials publisher said its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Malaya Press SB (TMP), has accepted the Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from KEMAS for the contract, which is expected to last for two years. (The Edge)

PPB Group: Plans to expand grains, agribusiness segment across the region . PPB Group plans to expand its grains and agribusiness segment especially its flour milling capacity in Malaysia and other countries in the region. The expansion in the core business would contribute to the profitability of PPB Group, which is expected to perform satisfactorily in the year. As for now, he said the group is in the midst of constructing a new wheat flour mill in Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam which has the capacity to produce 500 tonnes per day and is slated to be completed by 3Q21. (Bernama)

Lotte Chemical Titan: Expects outlook to improve on strong polymer product ASPs . Lotte Chemical Titan Holding (LCT) sees a brighter outlook for the company, thanks to a continued uptrend in average selling prices (ASPs) of polymer products. The strong prices of polymers products are expected to either hold or increase, mainly buoyed by brightening economic recovery prospects with global vaccination roll-outs, complemented by a sudden polymer supply shortage in the Southeast Asian region caused by ongoing shipping container issues which curtailed imported polymer supplies from other regions. (The Edge)

Sunway: Eyes RM1.6bn in property sales this year . Sunway has set a sales target of RM1.6bn for its property division this year, as the group launches RM2.8bn worth of properties in anticipation of an economic recovery, amid the global Covid-19 vaccine rollout. The target is higher than the RM1.3bn sales achieved last year, and the RM1.5bn sales registered in 2019, said Sunway’s property division managing director Sarena Cheah. (The Edge)

MPHB Capital: Slapped with UMA query after hitting limit up . MPHB Capital has received an unusual market activity query from Bursa Malaysia over the sharp rise in the company’s share price. The stock exchange regulator asked the company if there were any corporate developments relating to its business that had not been announced. (The Edge)

Market Update

The FBM KLCI might close the week with a negative note as Wall Street slumped on Thursday and global stock markets declined after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell repeated his pledge to keep credit flowing until Americans are back to work, pushing back at investors who have doubted if he can hold that promise after the pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 350.11 points, or 1.12%, to 30,919.98, the S&P 500 lost 47.21 points, or 1.24%, to 3,772.51 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 246.59 points, or 1.9%, to 12,751.16. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.37% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.56%, its third day of losses.

Back home, the FBM KLCI closed down 7.19 points or 0.45% tracking the negative performance of Asian equities after an overnight surge in bond yields again dragged shares on Wall Street. At 5pm, the benchmark index closed at 1,581.26 points. Across the region, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.13% while South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.28%. In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 2.15% while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index closed down 2.05%.

Source: PublicInvest Research - 5 Mar 2021

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