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PublicInvest Research Headlines - 12 Apr 2021

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Economy

US: Wholesale inventories rise slightly more than expected in February. Wholesale inventories in the US increased by slightly more than anticipated in February, the Commerce Department revealed. The report said wholesale inventories climbed by 0.6% in February after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.4% in January. Economists had expected wholesale inventories to rise by 0.5% compared to the 1.3% jump originally reported for the previous month. The slightly bigger than expected increase in wholesale inventories came as inventories of non-durable goods surged up by 1.1% and inventories of durable goods rose by 0.3% . Meanwhile, the report showed wholesales sales fell by 0.8% in February after soaring by 4.4% in January. Sales of durable goods tumbled by 2.2% during the month, more than offsetting a 0.5% increase in sales of non-durable goods. With inventories rising and sales slumping, the inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers ticked up to 1.27 in February from 1.25 in January. (RTT)

US: Producer prices jump much more than expected in March. Producer prices in the US jumped by much more than expected in the month of March, according to a report released by the Labor Department.The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand surged up by 1.0% in March after climbing by 0.5% in February. Economists had expected another 0.5% increase. The bigger than expected advance in producer prices reflected another spike in energy prices, which soared by 5.9% in March after skyrocketing by 6.0% in February. Excluding prices for food, energy, and trade services, core producer prices rose by 0.6% in March after edging up by 0.2% in February. Economists had expected another 0.2% uptick. The report showed prices for final demand services climbed by 0.7% in March after inching up by 0.1% in February. (RTT)

EU: German exports rise in February, lifted by China trade. German exports rose in February, boosted by surging trade with China in a fresh sign that factories are busy in Europe’s largest economy despite an expected pandemic-related drop in overall output in 1Q. Seasonally adjusted exports increased by 0.9% MoM after an upwardly revised rise of 1.6% in January, the Federal Statistics Office said. Imports rose 3.6% after falling 3.5% in the prior month. A  Reuters poll had pointed to a 1.0% increase in exports and a 2.4% rise in imports. The trade surplus shrank to EUR19.1bn. On the year, exports to China increased by 25.7%. Separate data released showed industrial output in February fell by 1.6%. A Reuters poll had pointed to a rise of 1.5%. (Reuters)’

EU: German industrial production falls unexpectedly in February. German industrial production decreased unexpectedly in February, figures from Destatis revealed. Industrial output dropped 1.6% MoM in February, while economists had forecast an increase of 1.5%. Production had decreased 2% in January. Excluding energy and construction, industrial output was down by 1.8% from the previous month. Within industry, the production of capital goods dropped 3.2% and that of intermediate goods by 1.0%. On the other hand, consumer goods output grew 0.2% . Outside industry, energy production was down by 1.0% and construction output decreased 1.3% . (RTT)

UK: House price inflation strongly accelerates in March – Halifax. UK house price inflation accelerated sharply in March to its highest level in four months, survey data from the Lloyds Bank unit Halifax and IHS Markit showed. The house price index rose an unadjusted 6.5% YoY after a 5.2% increase in February. Compared to the previous month, house prices rose 1.1% in March after remaining unchanged in February. The average house price hit a record high GBP254,606 in March. Halifax MD Russell Galley said the continuation of government support measures largely boosted confidence in the housing market. The extended stamp duty holiday has put another spring in the step of home movers, he said. Meanwhile, the new mortgage guarantee scheme provides an alternative route onto the property ladder to savers. (RTT)

China: Factory price surge deepens global inflation worries. China’s producer prices climbed in March by the most since July 2018 on surging commodity costs, adding to worries over rising global inflation as the pandemic recedes. The producer price index rose 4.4% YoY after gaining 1.7% in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said, higher than the 3.6% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The consumer price index increased 0.4% after falling for two straight months. After months of deflation, producer prices have started to pick up sharply this year as the cost of oil, copper and agricultural goods rallies. As the world’s biggest exporter, China’s rising prices threaten to stoke inflation around the world, adding to volatility in financial markets. Inflation risks already are mounting because of a stronger recovery in the world economy, massive fiscal stimulus in the US and soaring shipping costs. (Bloomberg)

Taiwan: Trade surplus rises less than expected. Taiwan's trade surplus rose less than expected in March, figures from the Ministry of Finance showed. The trade balance registered a surplus of USD3.661bn in March. Economists had expected a surplus of USD4.56bn. Exports grew 27.1% YoY in March, after a 9.7% rise in January. Economists had expected an increase of 10.5% . Imports gained 27.0% annually in March, after a 5.7% increase in the preceding month. Economists had forecast a rise of 12.0% . Exports of parts of electronic products, information, communication and audio video products, base metals and articles of base metal, plastics and rubber and articles thereof, and machinery grew in March. Imports of parts of electronic product, mineral products, machinery, chemicals, base metals and articles of base metals increased in March. Exports to Mainland China and Hong Kong, US, ASEAN and Europe rose in March. (RTT) 

Markets

IGB REIT (Neutral, TP: RM1.72): Has moved to purchase properties worth RM3.16bn in total. IGB REIT has moved to purchase properties worth RM3.16bn in total from IGB subsidiaries and 50% owned JV as part of its listing. The REIT had signed 10 sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) with IGB to purchase Menara IGB and IGB Annexe, Centrepoint South, Centrepoint North, Boulevard Properties, Gardens South Tower, Gardens North Tower, Southpoint properties, Menara Tan and Tan, GTower and Hampshire place. (The Edge)

Kerjaya Prospek Group: Has secured an RM153.5m contract. Kerjaya Prospek Group's 49%-owned associate Kerjaya Bina BMK SB has secured an RM153.5m contract from BBCC Development SB, for the construction of the main building of a proposed 44-storey serviced apartment project within a site off Jalan Hang Tuah and Jalan Pudu. The contract shall commence on April 15, 2021 and to be completed within 30 months from the commencement date. (The Edge)

Pharmaniaga: Appointed sole distributor of Baraka in Malaysia. Pharmaniaga was officially appointed by Egypt's Pharco Pharmaceuticals as the sole distributor of Baraka health supplements in Malaysia recently. With this appointment, Pristine Pharma SB, another subsidiary of Pharmaniaga, as Baraka's sole distributor. Baraka is now available at a RoyalePharma in Bangi, pharmacies, and traditional medicine stores. (Bernama)

MMC Corp: Sells more land to Shengda for factory expansion. MMC Corp is selling an additional 11.07 acres in Senai Airport City (SAC) to Shengda New Energy SB, as the Chinese-based company seeks to expand its solar system manufacturing facility in Johor. Shengda’s investment into SAC is for the purpose of its long-term expansion plan for the manufacturing of solar tracker slew gear (tracking driver), solar cleaning robots and power station demonstration project. (The Star)

TCS Group: Bags infrastructure project worth RM177.19m. TCS Group Holdings has secured an infrastructure project for part of Section 7, Part 2 of 2 of the West Coast Expressway (WCE) worth RM177.19m. The group had accepted the letter of acceptance from KEB Builders SB for the contract, which is the final section of WCE project. The scope of the contract comprises of geotechnical, drainage and road works. (SunBiz)

UCrest: Inks deal with Russian sovereign wealth fund to mass-produce Sputnik V. UCrest signed a strategic deal with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to manage and produce 200m doses and up to 2bn doses of Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccines in the first two years with the offtake commitment of take or pay basis. UCrest is partnering, arranging and managing the contract manufacturers in Asia to produce no less than 100m doses and up to 1bn doses in the first year. (Business Times)

VSTECS: To accelerate analytics growth for businesses in Malaysia. VSTECS has partnered with SAS, an American multinational developer of analytics software, to accelerate the growth of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) for businesses in Malaysia. The partnership between SAS and VSTECS will bring analytics and AI to Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SME) and mid-sized enterprises through its cloud-native SAS Viya platform. (Business Times)

Market Update

The FBM KLCI might open higher today as the S&P 500 and the Dow notched record closing highs on Friday after solid US inflation data and an uptick in Treasury yields suggested the economic recovery from the pandemic-related recession was gaining momentum. All three major US stock indices posted weekly gains as upbeat economic data boosted risk appetite ahead of first quarter earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 297.03 points, or 0.89%, to 33,800.6, the S&P 500 gained 31.63 points, or 0.77%, to 4,128.8 and the Nasdaq Composite added 70.88 points, or 0.51%, to 13,900.19. European stocks ended nominally higher, but marked their longest winning streak since November 2019 on rising hopes of a rapid economic rebound. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.08%.

Back home, the FBM KLCI closed 9.85 points or 0.61% higher, making Friday the third consecutive day of gains, boosted by a rise in telecommunications counters following the Celcom-Digi merger news. At 5pm, the local benchmark index closed at 1,612.25 points. Elsewhere in region, Japan’s Nikkei 225 increased 0.2%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.07%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.92% and South Korea's KOSPI slid 0.36%

Source: PublicInvest Research - 12 Apr 2021

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