1 December 2008 Newz Bits

December 2, 2008 at 6:56 am Leave a comment

HIGHLIGHTS

On Malaysia
• Media Prima to spend RM250m on content next year
• Kumpulan Europlus reportedly close to securing funding for West Coast Expressway
On The Global Front
• US “Black Friday” sales grows slowest in 3 years
• OPEC members delay further production cut decision
REPORTS
• AMMB Holdings – Insurance unit restructured (Buy; RM2.06; TP: RM3.90)
• KNM Group – Weathering a storm (Hold; RM0.535; TP: RM0.80)
• Sime Darby – 1QFY09 Results (Buy; RM5.85; TP: RM7.30)
• Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor – 3QFY08 Results (Buy; RM1.40; TP: RM2.10)
• Wah Seong – 3QFY08 Results (Hold; RM1.07; TP: RM1.13)
• MAS – 3QFY08 Results (Hold; RM2.56)

*****

Media Prima Bhd (MPR MK, Buy, TP: RM1.25) will spend RM250m next year on local and foreign content for all its television networks, says group managing director Abdul Rahman Ahmad. He said about 60% of the content will be local and the balance international. He added that it is a strategic move to exceed the expectations of Malaysians across all age groups. (StarBiz)
* * * * *
Kumpulan Europlus Bhd (KEB) is close to securing a RM4.5bn loan from a group of banks to build the West Coast Expressway (WCE), which links Banting in Selangor to Taiping, Perak. However, it is unclear if KEB will get to keep the highway. The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) declined comment when contacted. On November 12, EPU director Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob said the WCE could be re-tendered as the consortium involved had failed to secure financing in time. (BT)
* * * * *
Malaysia’s economy posted a moderate growth of 4.7% in 3Q08 against 6.7% in 2Q08, supported by a 6.5% increase in domestic demand amid continued expansion in private and public consumption, Bank Negara said. But the global economic crisis has cooled the country’s exports, with the net real export of goods and services declining 14.8%, compared with a growth of 20% in 2Q08, and weaker growth seen in the manufacturing sector. Private consumption registered a growth of 8.1%, against 9% in 2Q08, due to bonus payments to civil servants, festive season spending and payment of fuel subsidy cash rebates, according to the central bank. Public consumption increased by 6.9%, against 10.9% in 2Q08 on continued high
expenditure for emoluments, and supplies and services. (StarBiz)
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Asian Islamic Investment Management Sdn Bhd (AIIMAN) targets to manage a fund size of US$300m (RM1.09bn) in its first year of launch. A 49:51 joint venture global Islamic investment management entity between Hwang-DBS Malaysia Bhd and DBS Asset Management Ltd of Singapore, AIIMAN intends to launch about three funds early next year, focusing on asset classes such as global sukuk and syariah-compliant Asian equities. (StarBiz)
* * * * *
Bank Negara Malaysia has offered to relax ownership rules for selected foreign financial firms as it seeks to
encourage mergers in the local insurance industry. These foreign institutions are allowed to hold up to a 75% stake in local insurers from the maximum 49% currently, industry sources said. But there’s a catch. They will have to buy one or more smaller general insurance companies to qualify for the controlling stake. It is learnt that at least two companies, Primus Pacific Partners (HK) Ltd and a European-backed composite insurer operating here, have been approached by Bank Negara, the source said. Primus has a 20.2% stake in EON Capital Bhd, where its unit EON Bank is now in talks to buy general insurer PacificMas Bhd. (BT)
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Stocks rallied in a shortened holiday session Friday, ending higher for the fifth session in a row, capping one of Wall Street’s best weeks in months. The DJIA rallied 1.2% (102.4 pts, close 8,829.0). The S&P 500 index added 1.0% (8.6 pts, close 896.2) while the Nasdaq composite increased 0.2% (3.5pts, close 1,535.6). The dollar gained versus the euro and the yen. US light crude oil for Jan delivery fell 1 cent to US$54.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (CNNMoney)
* * * * *
US holiday retail sales increased 3% percent y-o-y to US$10.6bn, the smallest gain for a “Black Friday” in three years, research firm ShopperTrak RCT Corp said. The increase was the smallest since a decline of 0.9% in 2005 and compares with a jump of 8.3% last year. US retailers are making earlier and deeper price cuts to lure Christmas shoppers, who are coping with the shrinking values of homes and stock holdings along with increasing joblessness. (Bloomberg)
* * * * *
UK consumer confidence stayed close to the lowest level in more than three decades in Nov as gloom about the recession deterred spending, GfK NOP said. An index of sentiment, based on a survey of 2,000 people between Nov 7 and Nov 16, rose one point from the previous month to minus 35. A gauge measuring the general economic situation in the past year rose one point to minus 71, still 39 points lower than in the same month last year. (Bloomberg)
* * * * *
Luxury home values in central London slid for the eighth month in November. According to an index published by Knight Frank LLP, the estimated average value of a house or an apartment in London’s nine most expensive neighbourhoods fell by 3.6% from October and this was the second largest drop since the index started in 1976. The index covers homes mostly valued at £1 million (MYR 5.6 million) or higher. The fall in demand for luxury homes came after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc as those employed in financial services were traditionally the mainstay of demand for such homes. Least affected by the slides were properties worth more than £5 million which dropped 1.9% in value from October. (Bloomberg)
* * * * *
Japan’s recession deepened in Oct as companies cut production, consumers spent less and fewer people looked for work. Oct factory output fell 3.1% from Sept, when it rose 1.1%, the Trade Ministry said last Friday. Household spending slid 3.8%, the eighth consecutive drop. Companies surveyed said they plan the sharpest production cuts in 35 years as exports decline in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. (Bloomberg)
* * * * *
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd agreed Saturday to hand state governments an extra US$10bn to protect the economy from the global financial downturn. The federal government’s injection of an additional AU$15bn into the coffers of the country’s six states and two territories is about AU$4bn (US$2.6bn) more than the regional governments had been asking for and is the latest big spending measure since the worldwide crisis began. It comes on top of AU$10.4bn (US$7.4bn) that Rudd pledged to pour into the economy in Oct to protect it from the financial meltdown, carving a huge hole in a budget surplus that was projected for the current fiscal year. Rudd said the federal government could fund the new package and still
maintain a “modest” surplus. In May, the surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, was forecast to reach AU$21.7bn (US$20.4bn). But the latest proposal is expected to slash that to AU$5.4bn (US$3.7bn). (CNNMoney)
* * * * *
OPEC members delayed a decision on whether to cut production again this year until Dec, giving them more time to assess previous attempts to halt a plunge in prices. OPEC, the producer of more than 40% of the world’s oil, will carry out a “close scrutiny” of the market in the run-up to a meeting in Oran, Algeria, on Dec 17, according to Chakib Khelil, the group’s president. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will “take any additional action” to “achieve market stability” at that time, Khelil told reporters after the Cairo meeting. (CNNMoney)
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Telecommunications Monthly Review: November 2008 26 November 2008 Newz Bits

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