PublicInvest Research

PublicInvest Research Headlines - 29 Mar 2023

Publish date: Wed, 29 Mar 2023, 09:44 AM
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An official blog in I3investor to publish research reports provided by PublicInvest Research team.

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US: Consumer confidence unexpectedly improves in March. Reflecting an uptick in consumer expectations, the Conference Board released a report unexpectedly showing a slight improvement in US consumer confidence in the month of March. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index inched up to 104.2 in March from an upwardly revised 103.4 in Feb. The modest increase surprised economists, who had expected the consumer confidence index to slip to 101.0 from the 102.9 originally reported for the previous month. (RTT)

US: Goods trade deficit widens as exports decline. The US trade deficit in goods widened modestly in Feb as exports declined, potentially setting up trade to be a small drag on economic growth in the 1Q. The trade deficit increased 0.6% to USD91.6bn (RM403bn), the Commerce Department said on March 28. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the goods trade deficit would be little changed at USD91.0bn. (Reuters)

US: Housing cools further, with prices down 3% from the peak. The US housing slump stretched into a seventh month in Jan. Home prices nationally fell 0.2% from Dec, according to seasonally adjusted data from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller. The index is now down 3% from its record high, reached in June. Prices have continued to soften as seller discounts become more common in a market where buyer demand has been sagging for months. Toward the end of 2022 and into Jan, mortgage rates eased slightly from the peak in Nov, giving some house hunters incentive to negotiate a deal. While prices in Jan were still higher than they were a year earlier, the pace of gains has cooled. The national index was up 3.8% annually, down from the 5.6% gain in Dec, non-seasonally adjusted data show. (Bloomberg)

EU: Italy consumer confidence at 13-month high. Italy's consumer confidence strengthened for the second straight month in March, reaching its highest level in just over a year, survey results from the statistical office Istat showed. The consumer sentiment index improved to 105.1 in March from 104.0 in the previous month. Meanwhile, economists had expected the index to remain stable at 104.0. This was the highest reading since Feb 2022, when it was 112.4. Among components, economic sentiment of consumers improved the most in March, rising to 117.4 from 114.5 in Feb. The index measuring the current climate improved from 99.5 to 97.6, while that for future situations rose marginally to 113.5 from 113.4. Data also showed that the composite business confidence index strengthened to an eight-month high of 110.2 in March from 109.2 in the prior month. (RTT)

UK: Inflation in UK shops hits record high with more pain ahead. Prices in UK stores have soared to another record high in a sign that the cost-of-living crisis is far from over. The inflationary crunch has prompted shoppers to buy fewer items, according to one of the country’s best-known online grocers. Ocado Group plc said that average basket sizes at its tie-up with Marks & Spencer Group plc fell by 7.5% to 45 items in the first quarter. Market data shows that British shoppers are increasingly turning to discount grocers. Lidl was the fastest-growing supermarket during the four weeks to March 19, Kantar said, with sales rising by 25.8%. Meanwhile, Aldi’s market share reached another all-time high. (Bloomberg)

UK: BoE on high alert since SVB collapse, says Bailey. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the UK central bank was on high alert since the failure of the US technology sector focused lender Silicon Valley Bank in the past few weeks. "We are in a period of very heightened, frankly, tension and alertness," Bailey said at the Treasury Select Committee hearing on the Silicon Valley Bank collapse. However, the UK was not experiencing any stress in connection with the collapse of SVB and Credit Suisse, the banker added. BoE Chief observed that the demise of the SVB was the fastest since the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995. Bailey admitted that he was surprised by the speed of the SVB's collapse. Further, Bailey said that guarantee to all bank deposits should not be the norm. (RTT)

Australia: Retail sales add 0.2% in Feb . The total value of retail sales in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 0.2% on month in Feb, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said - coming in at AUD35.14bn. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.1% and was down from 1.9% in Jan. Individually, sales were up for food, clothing, department store sales and cafes and restaurants. Sales were flat for household goods and down for other retailing. On a yearly basis, retail sales climbed 6.4%. (RTT)


E&O: To buy out partner for RM47m to fully-own Seri Tanjung Pinang concession. Eastern & Oriental (E&O) has proposed to pay RM46.95m to purchase the remaining 40% equity interest in E&O-PDC Holdings SB from Penang Development Corporation (PDC), to enable E&O to wholly own the Seri Tanjung Pinang reclamation and development concession. (The Edge)

Icon Offshore: Secures OSV services contracts from Hibiscus O&G. Icon Offshore has secured two offshore support vessel services contracts from Hibiscus Oil & Gas Malaysia Ltd. The contracts involve the provision of platform supply vessels with crew and equipment for 24-hour support services to the offshore construction and integrated well services scope. (StarBiz)

SCIB: Bags RM16.8m school building project in Sarawak. Sarawak Consolidated Industries has secured an engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) subcontract valued at RM16.8m from Majestika SB. (StarBiz)

Enra: Inks RM41m bareboat charter contract. Enra Group has entered into a bareboat charter contract with 7Seas Maritime Transportation FZCO for the charter of chemical oil tanker Ratu Enra. The contract is worth at least USD9.32m (about RM41m) over a five-year period with a mutual option to extend for another five years. (StarBiz)

PMB Technology: Extends MOU with Sabah Oil & Gas Development Corp to explore potential land acquisition for silicon metal plant. PMB Technology has extended a MOU previously inked with Sabah Oil & Gas Development Corp SB for the potential sublease or sale of 200 acres of land at the Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park in Sabah, and the development of a new silicon metal production plant there. (The Edge)

LSH Capital: Shareholders pave way for diversification into property development. Shareholders of LEAP Market-listed Lim Seong Hai Capital (LSH Capital) have paved the way for the construction-related products and service provider to transform into a full-fledged construction and construction-related services and solutions provider. (The Edge)

Carimin Petroleum: Accepts vessel supply order from PETRONAS Carigali. Carimin Petroleum has accepted a work order award from PETRONAS Carigali SB for the provision of an anchor handling tug boat. (StarBiz)

Meta Bright: Secures offer letters from five mosques and surau in Johor for NEM solar programme. Meta Bright Group has issued offer letters regarding its solar programme to five mosques and surau in Johor, to which the five clients have accepted the letters. The five letters bring Meta Bright’s order book at circa RM15.45 million. (The Edge)

Pharmaniaga: Appoints MIDF Amanah IB as principal adviser for regularisation plan. Pharmaniaga has appointed MIDF Amanah Investment Bank as the principal adviser for its proposed regularisation plan. (The Edge)

Market Update

The FBM KLCI might open flat today after US equities slipped on Tuesday as rising bond yields and a calmer banking sector led mega cap technology stocks to give up some recent gains. The S&P 500 dipped 0.2%, its first decline in three days, with tech giants such as Alphabet and Apple the biggest drags on the index. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 0.5%. Large tech groups had been some of the biggest beneficiaries of the financial sector turmoil that started with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank earlier this month, but the sector has lost ground in recent days. In Europe the Stoxx Europe 600 Banks index, which includes the region’s biggest lenders, closed up 0.7%. Commerzbank was among the biggest gainers, up 1.5%. Deutsche Bank, however, fell 1.3%. The mood was reflected in broader share indices, with the region-wide benchmark Stoxx 600 flat and Germany’s Dax up 0.1%. London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2%.

Back home, improved risk sentiment and bargain hunting for heavyweights led by Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd and Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd saw Bursa Malaysia’s main index gaining 0.9% at the close on Tuesday. At the closing bell, the FBM KLCI had advanced 12.49 points, or 0.89%, to 1,409.09, compared with Monday's close at 1,396.60. Regional markets finished mixed as the Hang Seng gained 1.11% and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.15%. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.19%.

Source: PublicInvest Research - 29 Mar 2023

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