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PublicInvest Research Headlines - 11 Mar 2020

Date: 11/03/2020

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US: Trump pitched 0% payroll tax rate for the rest of the year, White House official says. President Donald Trump, in a meeting with Republican lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill, pitched a 0% payroll tax rate for employers and employees that would last through the rest of this year. There was also discussion of making the payroll tax rollback permanent. This development comes as Trump and the White House attempt to put together an economic stimulus plan to counteract the impact from the widening coronavirus outbreak. (CNBC)

EU: Eurozone economy slowed in 4Q, imports jump. The eurozone economy grew at a snail’s pace in the 4Q as investments and consumer and government spending just offset the impact of a sharp rise in imports. EU statistics office Eurostat said that GDP in the 19 countries sharing the single currency rose by just 0.1% in the Oct-Dec period, in line with its flash estimate published last month. The weak quarterly growth follows a strong 0.5% expansion in the 1Q, expansion of just 0.1% in the 2Q and of 0.3% in the 3Q. (Reuters)

EU: France Industrial production recovers in Jan . France industrial and manufacturing output recovered in Jan. Industrial production grew 1.2% on a monthly basis in Jan, reversing a 2.5% fall in Dec. This was the fastest growth in eight months. However, this was slower than the 1.8% rise economists had forecast. At the same time, manufacturing output rebounded 1.2% after falling 2.2% a month ago. This was also the biggest rise since May 2019. Data showed that construction output climbed 1.8%, in contrast to a 3.4% drop a month ago. Likewise, mining and quarrying output gained 0.9% reversing Dec's 3.9% fall. (RTT)

UK: Retail sales fall unexpectedly in Feb. UK like-for-like retail sales declined in Feb despite rising consumer confidence. Like-for like sales fell 0.4% annually in Feb, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.4%. Clouds continued to hang over the retail industry in Feb, as storm Ciara, Dennis and Jorge took their toll on retail sales, particularly in fashion. Despite many indicators suggesting a rise in confidence among UK shoppers in recent months, this has failed to translate into higher retail sales. (RTT)

China: Inflation eases, producer prices turn negative. China's CPI slowed slightly in Feb on slowing non-food price growth and producer prices returned to deflation as factory shutdowns after corona virus outbreak lowered demand. Consumer prices advanced 5.2% on a yearly basis in Feb, slower than the 5.4% increase seen in Jan. Food prices surged 21.9% due to sharp 135.2% increase in pork prices. At the same time, non-food prices climbed only 0.9%. The sudden outbreak of corona virus had a complicated impact on the price trend, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. The increase in food prices reflects transportation control implemented across the country. The shortage of manpower disrupted supply and increased cost. On a monthly basis, consumer prices gained 0.8%, slower than the 1.4% rise in Jan. (RTT)

Australia: Business confidence weakens in Feb. Australia’s business confidence and conditions weakened in Feb, although it appears too early to fully quantify the effect of the Coronavirus. The business conditions index fell two points to zero in Feb, led by a decline in profitability and small decline in trading conditions. The business confidence index dropped to -4, signaling that businesses see further deterioration in conditions in the short term. (RTT)

Indonesia: Retail sales declined at a softer pace in Jan and is estimated to fall at a faster rate in Feb. Retail sales fell 0.3% YoY in Jan, following a 0.5% decrease in Feb. Retail sales for Feb was estimated to weaken by 1.9%.The decline was mainly driven by decrease in the sales of the clothing and information and communication equipment sub-group and a slowdown in sales of the parts and accessories group, and food, beverage and tobacco. (RTT)


Hibiscus (Neutral, TP: RM0.62): Warns of downward revision to FY20 production target. Hibiscus Petroleum says it remains on track to achieve its total production target of delivering between 3.3m barrels of oil (mmbbl) and 3.5 mmbbl in the FYE June 30, 2020 (FY20). However, it warned that there may be revisions to this target as there could be an advantage to execute maintenance activities, which require a shutdown, during this period of low prices. "This will allow future production to be optimised through higher uptime and potentially higher realised prices," it said. (The Edge)

Eversendai: Agrees to acquire firm owned by founder-chairman. Eversendai Corp has agreed to take over a 100% stake in Vahana Offshore (M) SB, a private liftboat business owned by the group’s founder and executive chairman Tan Sri AK Nathan Elumalay. Vahana Offshore owns the Vahana Aryan liftboat and Vahana Arjun – the construction of which will be completed in 2021. Nathan, via Varhana Holdings, had offered to sell Varhana Offshore to Eversendai on Feb 10. “Upon due deliberation, the board has resolved to accept the offer, subject to the finalisation and execution of a definitive share sale agreement in respect of the proposed transaction,” Eversendai said (SunBiz)

Metro Healthcare: Plans to raise RM18m to fund expansion. Metro Healthcare (MHB) has proposed a private placement to raise up to RM18.05m to fund its business expansion plans to northern and central regions. The placement involves the issuance of up to 20.06m new shares or 10% of the group’s issued shares to third-party investors to be identified later, the group said. It said the issue price of the placement shares will be fixed by its board at a later date. (The Edge)

APFT: Plans to buy educational business in bid to exit PN17 status. APFT is planning to acquire educational assets/business from HELP International Corp (HIC) in a bid to be uplifted from the PN17 status. Apart from the proposed acquisition, its proposed regularisation plan will also involve other key proposals including a fundraising exercise. (SunBiz)

OCR Group: Terminates JV with D’nonce. OCR Group has terminated its JV agreement with D’nonce Technology to develop affordable apartments in Seberang Perai Tengah, Penang. OCR did not mention the reason for the cancellation of the agreement. (The Edge)

KESM: Posts RM1.86m net profit for 2Q. KESM Industries’ net profit nearly quadrupled to RM1.86m or 4.34 sen per share in its 2QFY20, from RM474,000 or 1.1 sen per share a year ago. However, revenue for the quarter fell 16.05% to RM68.1m, versus RM81.1m a year earlier, KESM said. The group attributed this to lower demand for burn-in and testing services, as well as electronic manufacturing services. Net profit for the 1HFY20 doubled to RM6.4m from RM3.1m in the previous corresponding period. (The Edge)

IPO: Aneka Jaringan to issue 139.9m new shares for ACE Market listing. Aneka Jaringan Holdings is planning an IPO on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities with a public issue of 139.9m new shares. Aneka Jaringan said it plans to use the IPO proceeds for the purchase of new rotary drilling rigs and crawler cranes, as well as for the repayment of borrowings. (SunBiz)

Market Update

The FBM KLCI might open higher today as U.S. stocks closed sharply higher Tuesday after a volatile session that restored about half of the losses seen Monday when stocks saw the biggest one day fall since the 2008 financial crisis. Tuesday’s rebound was partly fuelled by a White House push to persuade Congress to agree to a fiscal stimulus package that may include a payroll tax cut to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,167.14 points, or 4.9%, higher, at 25,105.14, while the S&P 500 rose 135.67 points or 4.9% to close at 2,882.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 393.58 points, or 5%, at 8,344.25. In Europe, the STOXX 600 closed more than 1.1% lower. Italy’s FTSE MIK Index tumbled nearly 3%.

Back home, the FBM KLCI closed up 6.31 points or 0.44% at 1,430.47 on bargain hunting while crude oil prices rebounded as investors weighed the impact of the Saudi Arabia-Russia crude oil price war and global Covid-19 outbreak. In the region, the Nikkei rose 0.85%, the China CSI 300 popped 2.1%, and the Hang Seng was up 1.4%.

Source: PublicInvest Research - 11 Mar 2020

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