Saturday, September 17, 2011

#Stocks to watch* Proton, Tenaga, Catcha, Cypark, tobacco players

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI could stage a corrective rebound in the week beginning Monday, Sept 19, on the back of the announcements made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as well as corporate news flow.

Najib on Sept 15 announced the proposed repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and laws related to banishments, but gave little detail of the two proposed enactments to be in place after the ISA is repealed.

There is also heavy anticipation of a people-friendly Budget 2012 to be tabled on Oct 7, seen as the final one before the general elections which some analyst say could be called within the next six months.

There were also corporate announcements by PROTON HOLDINGS BHD [], TENAGA NASIONAL BHD [], Catcha Media Bhd and Cypark Resources that could put them in focus, while tobacco players may see some selling pressure on worries of a tax hike.

On the external front, US stocks rose for a fifth day in a row on Friday and the S&P 500 scored its best week since early July on signs euro zone leaders were acting together to limit any damage from its sovereign debt crisis.

Affin Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research Dr Nazri Khan said he expects the FBM KLCI to do corrective rebound next week before resuming its downtrend spotted since July this year.

We believe next week to be interesting as most regional indices''including FBMKCLI is close to test its year-to-date low (with FBMKLCI testing 1,423 level).

'A strong rebound from the support may suggest a reliable bottom in progress.

'The fact that FBM KLCI is currently down by 11% (since mid July 2011 week) on the past eleven losing weekly session may suggest an oversold rebound is imminent,' he said.

Proton and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) are considering joint production of engines in Malaysia and production of MMC-brand vehicles at Proton's plants under their proposed strategic collaboration.

Confirming The Edge FinancialDaily report on Thursday, Sept 15 about the broad ranging strategic collaboration, they said in a joint statement they were in 'serious collaboration' to enhance their competitiveness in the global market place.

Tenaga plans to raise RM5 billion from a 20-year ringgit denominated Sukuk to be issued at the end of October, its president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohd Noh was reported as saying to Bernama on Sept 15.

Che Khalib said the book building exercise was to be held in the third week of October and that the proceeds from the Sukuk would be used to finance the extension of the 1,000-MW Janamanjung coal-fired power plant in northern Perak.

Catcha Media is foraying into the luxury goods business after acquiring a Singapore-based company Haute Groupe Pte Ltd,''which also sells luxury goods online, for S$5 million or RM12.34 million.

Catcha Media said on Thursday, Sept 15 it was acquiring the entire equity from Loong Siew Fong and her spouse Low Choong Lang.

Haute Groupe's core activities are retail of bags, luggage and travel accessories and the wholesale of bags, luggage and travel accessories. It also operates the luxury flash sales website and luxury flash sales event business.

Cypark could see some trading interest after it secured a RM29.88 million contract from Putrajaya Holdings Bhd for infrastructure, landscape and road works in Putrajaya.

It said on Thursday, Sept 15 that it had accepted the letter of award for the project from Putrajaya Holdings on Sept 14.

Meanwhile, BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO (M) [] Bhd and JT INTERNATIONAL BHD [] may see continued selling pressure on concerns of a hike in the tobacco duty in the Budget 2012 proposals to be tabled on Oct 7.

OSK Research on Sept 15 said it expected a moderate hike in tobacco duty in the upcoming Budget but it believes that the breweries will be spared.

'We prefer BAT to JTI as the former is less exposed to value-for-money brands which are more price elastic and prone to substitution,' it said.

US STOCKS-Europe propels Wall Street higher for week

NEW YORK: U.S. stocks rose for a fifth day in a row on Friday and the S&P 500 scored its best week since early July on signs euro zone leaders were acting together to limit any damage from its sovereign debt crisis.

The leaders took steps this week to show they were tackling the debt crisis, which has plagued markets for weeks, including coordinated central bank moves to give European banks greater access to funding in dollars.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged EU finance ministers to leverage their bailout fund to better tackle the debt crisis and to start speaking with one voice, but there was no agreement on what steps to take.

Still, the encouraging headlines out of Europe helped the S&P 500 post a 5.4 percent gain for the week, its best since early July, and the five-day string of gains was the broad index's strongest since the end of June.

The Nasdaq composite index registered its best weekly percentage advance since July 2009, reflecting strength in TECHNOLOGY [] shares on Friday. The S&P tech index rose 1 percent, while the S&P consumer discretionary index also gained 1 percent.

"The market seems to be a little bit more reassured that (their) support will not allow for a major disruption in Europe," said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investment Management in Bethesda, Maryland, which manages about $14.8 billion.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 75.91 points, or 0.66 percent, at 11,509.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 6.90 points, or 0.57 percent, at 1,216.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.24 points, or 0.58 percent, at 2,622.31.

The Nasdaq gained 6.3 percent for the week while the Dow rose 4.7 percent.

Still, major obstacles must be overcome in solving the euro zone's debt crisis.

Less than 75 percent of private sector creditors have signaled they will take part in a scheme to buy back Greek debt, far less than the 90 percent target set by Greece. The shortfall could jeopardize the planned second bailout package for Athens.

Greece's international lenders said on Friday they would delay a crucial visit to the country next week, and European finance ministers demanded that Athens fulfill its pledges to win further aid.

After the market's close, Moody's Investors Service left Italy's Aa2 foreign sovereign currency credit rating unchanged but reiterated that it remained on review for a possible downgrade.

Among U.S. stocks, General Electric Co gained 1.6 percent to $16.33 after forming two new joint ventures in Russia that it said could generate $10 billion to $15 billion in new revenue over the next few years.

Another Dow component, United Technologies Corp, is lining up financing for a major acquisition in the United States, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The U.S. industrial conglomerate is tapping the credit market for funds that could top $20 billion, said one of the sources. Its shares slipped 0.1 percent to $75.50.

One of the worst hit stocks, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd slid 19 percent to $23.93 a day after it reported a steep drop in quarterly profit and offered little hope of a turnaround soon.

U.S. economic data showed consumer sentiment inched up in early September, but Americans were gloomy about the future. A gauge of expectations fell to its lowest level since 1980.

Volume was a strong 8.8 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange, Amex and Nasdaq, above last year's average of roughly 7.6 billion.

Advancers led decliners by 15 to 14 on the NYSE and by about 7 to 6 on Nasdaq. ' Reuters


Friday, September 16, 2011

EU probing if Google dominates Internet search

BRUSSELS: EU regulators are investigating whether Google dominates in Internet search but have yet to decide if this is the case, the EU's antitrust chief said on Friday.

"As part of our current investigation, we are trying to determine whether the company holds a dominant position in internet search," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a competition conference in Florence. "Google is the browser of choice for very many of us; but dominance is not the same as abuse of dominance. Abuse is a conduct that protects or extends dominance by illegitimate means, and we still have to conclude whether this is the case for Google," he said.

The European Commission opened an investigation into Google in November last year after rivals, including Microsoft, accused the company of abusing its dominant position in the market for web search services. ' Reuters


AP consumer goods companies performed well in 1H2011, says S&P

KUALA LUMPUR: Asia-Pacific consumer goods companies have performed well in the first half of 2011, and are likely to maintain their credit quality in the second half of the year, said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S & P).

In a report Friday, Sept 16, S&P said most consumer goods companies it rated in the Asia-Pacific continued to demonstrate their ability to generate sustainable cash flow and maintain adequate liquidity, which should protect their credit quality amid difficult operating conditions, which include high raw material costs and intense competition.

S & P's credit analyst Amano Machiko said competition would increase because many companies sought to raise their brand recognition and widen their market shares in emerging countries, adding that mergers and acquisitions (M&As) may continue.

"Consumer confidence across the Asia-Pacific continues to differ from country to country, depending on demographic issues and issues specific to industry subsectors,' said Machiko.

The report said difficult operating conditions for consumer goods companies at the lower end of the rating spectrum and increased spending on acquisitions and investments at the higher end were likely to restrict upside rating changes toward the end of this year.

Europe, US face 10 years of slow growth-UK's Brown

DALIAN: Europe and the United States could face 10 years of slow growth and high unemployment if a global solution for the euro zone debt crisis is not implemented soon, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Friday.

"Unless there is global coordination...I foresee 10 years of low growth in Europe and America, I foresee very high levels of unemployment and I foresee a failure of coordination that will lead in the end to greater protectionism," Brown told reporters and participants at the World Economic Forum in Dalian.

The sovereign debt crisis gripping Europe has seen Greece, Portugal and Ireland forced to take bailouts, piled bond market pressure on Italy and Spain and raised fears of a banking crisis as wholesale funding evaporates on concerns about lenders' potential exposure.

The European Central Bank said on Thursday it would work with other major central banks to offer three-month dollar loans to commercial lenders to prevent money markets freezing up.

However, some investors said more needed to be done, including more aggressive capital injections for banks that are overexposed to heavily indebted euro zone countries.

"You cannot begin to solve the European problem unless you understand it is a banking problem, a growth problem, the inability of the European economies to grow out of a recession, as well as being a fiscal problem," Brown said.

Brown, who was finance minister for 10 years before becoming prime minister in 2007 and won praise for his handling of the early stages of the global economic crisis in 2008/09, said the crisis should be solved by having a "global agreement" on how the world economy should grow.

Such an agreement would need to address the rebalancing of exports and consumption between developing countries, such as China and India, and developed countries, such as the United States.

"You will need an international agreement, not just a euro area agreement, to sort out the problems that Europe now faces and the IMF will be involved in some stage in this in my view," Brown said, adding that he agreed with the widely held view that the European Financial Stability Facility, Europe's bailout fund, of 400 billion euros was insufficient.

A growing number of policymakers, as well as market economists, are convinced it is only a matter of time before Greece, which keeps falling behind on fiscal targets agreed with its international creditors, will have to default.

But British insurer Prudential's Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said he did not see a Greek default on the cards.

"I don't think they will default, I think the market thinks they will default. I don't think they will because the consequences on the banks in particular are too significant, particularly to France and Germany," Thiam said. ' Reuters


N. American semicon makers post August 2011 book-to-bill ratio of 0.80

KUALA LUMPUR: North America-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers posted US$1.18 billion in orders in August 2011 (three-month average basis) and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.80, according to the US-based Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers Industry association (SEMI).

A book-to-bill of 0.80 means that $80 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.

In its August Book-to-Bill Report published on Sept 15, SEMI said the three-month average of worldwide bookings in August 2011 was US$1.18 billion.

The bookings figure is 8.8% less than the final July 2011 level of US$1.30 billion, and was 34.8% below the US$1.82 billion in orders posted in August 2010.

The three-month average of worldwide billings in August 2011 was US$1.48 billion.

The billings figure is 3% less than the final July 2011 level of US$1.52 billion, and 5.1% less than the August 2010 billings level of US$1.55 billion, it said.

SEMI president and chief executive officer Stanley T Myers said weaker DRAM demand, foundry spending reductions and near-term uncertainties about electronics demand were reflected in declining sales trends for new semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

'Consequently, the SEMI 3-month average billings are at levels last seen in June of 2010,' he said.


Man United Singapore listing plan approved-source

SINGAPORE: English Premier League football champions Manchester United have received permission from the Singapore Exchange for a planned $1 billion listing, a source briefed on the deal told Reuters on Friday.

"Yes, it is approved," the source told Reuters.

The company has hired Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase to manage its IPO, for which premarketing is expected to start in mid-September.

The source declined to be named because the process is not public.

The listing of one of the world's biggest soccer clubs is seen as a coup for the Singapore Exchange , which competes against Hong Kong for listings.

But the club's plan to use a two-tier system of shares to ensure the Glazer family retains control has drawn criticism from investors and fans alike. The family bought the club in 2005.

Lawyers have said it is likely the club will make a significant part of its offering in preference shares, which are shares that carry no voting rights, but get priority over ordinary shares for dividend payments and in the event of liquidation. .

Manchester United is expected to list common shares as well as preferred shares in the management company, IFR Asia reported earlier this week.

The football club wants to raise cash to help reduce almost $500 million in debt. Its choice of Singapore was aimed at expanding the club's huge Asian fan base as well as tapping the region's stronger growth and investment climate.

The Red Devils, a nickname given to the club by its fans, have spent the past few weeks courting Asia's major institutional and sovereign investors including Singapore state investor Temasek , sources told Reuters earlier. ' Reuters


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tenaga to issue RM5 bln sukuk end-October

KUALA LUMPUR: TENAGA NASIONAL BHD [] will raise RM5 billion from a 20-year ringgit denominated Sukuk to be issued at the end of October, its president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohd Noh said.

"We will do the book building exercise in the third week of October," he told Bernama on Thursday, Sept 15.

Che Khalib said the proceeds from the Sukuk would be used to finance the extension of the 1,000-MW Janamanjung coal-fired power plant in northern Perak.

"The timing is good as the domestic market is now flushed with liquidity," he added. - Bernama

US jobless claims up 11k

KUALA LUMPUR: The initial jobless claims in the United States in the week ending Sept 10 rose by 11,000 to 428,000 from 417,000 a week earlier, according to the US Department of Labor (DOL).

In a statement on its website on Thursday, Sept 15, the DOL said that the four-week moving average was 419,500, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 415,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3% for the week ending Sept 3, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate, it said.

Meanwhile, it said the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Sept 3 was 3.726 million, a decrease of 12,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3.738 million.

The four-week moving average was 3.741 million, an increase of 1,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.739 million, it said.


BHIC unit ties up with MMAM

KUALA LUMPUR: BOUSTEAD HEAVY INDUSTRIES CORP []oration Bhd (BHIC) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MIGHT-Meteor Advance Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (MMAM) to jointly establish a graduate development programme.

BHIC said on Thursday, Sept 15 that its subsidiary Boustead Penang Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BPS) had signed an MoU with MMAM to establish the basis of co-operation and collaboration between the parties on the TECHNOLOGY [] Specialist Specific Domain Expertise (TeSSDE) programmes.

It said the MOU was for 18 months under which the parties would jointly develop and enhance the knowledge of fresh graduates leading to the development of skilled workforce.

'Furthermore, it would facilitate the sharing of technical expertise, capabilities and facilities for the programmes in the specific technology area of marine engineering and related activities,' it said.

BHIC said the any cost and expense in relation to the MOU would be negotiated to the mutual acceptance of both parties.

MMAM, which runs the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) is a knowledge centre established in Feb 2002 as a joint venture company between Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and Multimedia Technology Enhancement Operations Sdn. Bhd.

The company provides human capital enhancement services, technology services and life-long learning in the manufacturing and service industries.

UBS says $2 bln rogue trade suspect held in London

ZURICH: Swiss bank UBS said a rogue trader had lost it $2 billion in unauthorised dealing, and police in London arrested a man in connection with the case.

British police said they had arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of fraud. Swiss newspaper NZZ cited UBS as saying the trader worked in its London equities division.

"I can confirm that an employee of the bank was arrested in London in connection with the statement," a spokesman for UBS told Reuters on Thursday.

UBS warned it might post a loss in the third quarter after the rogue trades, a huge blow as the bank struggles to rebuild its credibility after years of crises.

The loss threatens the future of UBS's investment bank, which is being reviewed by Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel as part of a wide-ranging restructuring following heavy losses in the credit crisis and a damaging scandal over bankers helping rich U.S. clients dodge taxes.

UBS, which said no client positions were affected by the unauthorised trades, holds an investor day on Nov. 17, when it is expected to announce major restructuring of the investment bank.

"The matter is still being investigated, but UBS's current estimate of the loss on the trades is in the range of $2 billion," the bank said in a brief statement.

UBS employed almost 18,000 people in its investment bank at the end of June, most of them based outside Switzerland, particularly in London and the United States.

UBS shares were down 7.8 percent at 10.08 Swiss francs at 1034 GMT, while the European banking sector was up 1.8 percent.

"(This) is a staggering demonstration that all the clever systems that the banks now have, especially after the financial crisis, still cannot stop a determined individual getting round them if they want to," said Chris Roebuck, Visiting Professor at Cass Business School in London.

"It will yet again confirm to the majority of shareholders who are Swiss that investment banking is not 'proper' banking, as private banking is."


Any losses in its investment bank risk scaring UBS's rich clients and prompting a further flight from its huge private bank, the core of its business.

"This loss has the scope to have a material impact on the perception of UBS' private bank, impacting its future operating trends," Goldman Sachs analysts Jernei Omahen and Peter Skoog wrote in a note.

"Today's announcement therefore adds to the long list of arguments (and pressure) for a substantially smaller investment bank."

UBS's news caused disbelief among market operators, coming so soon after former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel's racked up a $6.7 billion loss in unauthorised deals revealed in 2008. Kerviel was sentenced to three years in prison in October 2010.

"It is amazing that this is still possible," said ZKB trading analyst Claude Zehnder. "They obviously have a problem with risk management. Even when the amount isn't so high, it is once more a loss of confidence that casts UBS in a poor light."

"With this they are losing a lot of credit that they had regained with effort," he added.

Switzerland's financial markets regulator FINMA said it had been informed of the rogue trader case and was in close contact with UBS.


The bank has in the past two years tried to rebuild the investment bank that nearly felled it during the financial crisis. It needed a state bailout after heavy losses on U.S. subprime mortgage-related securities.

Under Gruebel and investment bank boss Carsten Kengeter -- themselves both once traders -- it hired hundreds of traders in a bid to boost its bond business.

Several analysts said the incident made it more likely that Kengeter would be in the firing line, while Gruebel could step down sooner rather than later.

"Gruebel saved the bank from destruction, so his main job is done. It is only a matter of time before he steps down. If it means he leaves a little sooner, it doesn't change a lot. But the investment bank is a bit of a disaster, and the knives will be out for Kengeter," said Peter Thorne, analyst at Helvea.

Another analyst who declined to be named said: "Some important heads are going to have to roll, and some are saying that after a series of missteps with the IB, Kengeter himself will have to go."

Former Bundesbank head Axel Weber is due to join the UBS board next May and take over as chairman in 2013.

The weak performance of the investment bank and tough capital rules in Switzerland had already attracted intense scrutiny over how UBS will cope, with analysts calling for a retrenchment of the investment bank.

UBS had started to see client confidence return this year after it had to be rescued by the Swiss state in 2008 following massive losses on toxic assets held by its investment bank.

UBS said last month it was to axe 3,500 jobs to shave 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.3 billion) off annual costs as it joins rivals in reversing a post-crisis hiring binge and preparing for a tough few years. ' Reuters


Cameron, in Tripoli, says UK will help hunt Gaddafi

TRIPOLI: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday pledged that Britain would help to hunt down fugitive former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"This is not over," Cameron told a news conference in Libyan capital Tripoli. "We will help you to find Gaddafi and bring him to justice."

Cameron was on a joint visit to Tripoli with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Both leaders will visit Benghazi, the cradle of the revolution that overthrew Gaddafi, later on Thursday.

"We stand ready to help but we want to know what it is you most want us to do," Cameron said. "This is the moment when the Arab spring could be become the Arab summer and we see democracy advance in other countries, too." ' Reuters

Zafrul: Mabank Investment, Kim Eng integration completed end-2012

KUALA LUMPUR: The integration between Maybank Investment Bank Bhd and Singapore broker, Kim Eng Holdings, are now in stage two
and is progressing well.

Maybank Investment Bank chief executive officer Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the integration phase followed completion of Maybank's acquisition of Kim Eng in May.

"All the teams across the country are putting together from the front to the back office. The integration will take about 12 to 18 months. By end of next year, the integration should be completed," he told reporters at the SIFE Malaysia Foundation event officiated by International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

Tengku Zafrul said the integration process needs time as it entailed various work streams, adding that the business was as usual because it was more
on operational issues.

He said the integration part was important to realise the synergy between Maybank Investment, Kim Eng and PT Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) in
Indonesia, Maybank Philippines Inc and Maybank Singapore.

This, he said, was to make sure Kim Eng entities in these countries could leverage on each other, like for example Maybank Investment levereging on

He said Maybank Investment was looking at leveraging its network in Southeast Asia in order to offer its clients with Asean products.

"For example, if you want to trade in Thailand or Indonesia, now can trade through us. Last time, it was more difficult, you have to use our partner
brokers," he said.

Tengku Zafrul was appointed chairman of the board of trustees of SIFE Malaysia Foundation. - Bernama

Proton, Mitsubish mulls joint production of engines in Malaysia

SUBANG JAYA: PROTON HOLDINGS BHD [] and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) are considering joint production of engines in Malaysia and production of MMC-brand vehicles at Proton's plants under their proposed strategic collaboration.

Confirming The Edge FinancialDaily report on Thursday, Sept 15 about the broad ranging strategic collaboration, they said in a joint statement they are in 'serious collaboration' to enhance their competitiveness in the global market place.

Other areas of collaboration are major parts and components between MMC's 'Global Small' -- to be launched next March in Thailand ' and Proton's upcoming 'Global Small Car'. Also included would be MMC's future technologies that include electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicle TECHNOLOGY [].

Details regarding the collaboration will be finalised within the next two months.

To recap, since late 2010, the two companies had jointly proceeded with feasibility studies to identify certain areas of collaboration that could be expected to benefit both parties.

The Edge FD reported that both car makers were close to signing a working agreement which would entail MMC utilising Proton's production facility in Tanjung Malim, Perak. It also reported the tie-up would give Mitsubishi access to Proton's plant in Tanjung Malim for export to the Asean region.

The news report said both car manufacturers are looking to form a joint-venture (JV) company to manufacture small vehicles in which both parties would have equity stakes. The precise shareholding structure of the JV entity is currently uncertain but Proton is believed to be taking up a controlling stake.

Proton chairman, Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh told reporters at a press conference after the AGM on Thursday that:

"The perception in the past is that you must be bought over by a group of companies to stay afloat. There are many business models that can be utilised to keep a business afloat, not just via acquisitions and equity swaps.'' We want to prove to everyone that by collaborating, a company can benefit and keep itself successful.

'For a small car manufacturer the economy of scale is very important, the quality and branding is very important. So if we can achieve this kind of collaboration, it still serves a purpose of enhancing the business of Proton moving forward.'

Proton managing director Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin said the collaboration would definitely boost sales and revenue of Proton automobiles.

Asked about the possible benefits to Proton in terms of revenue and marginal profits, he replied:

"I'm sure it will increase the revenue but point of it first is we need to finalize. It will definitely increase our revenue, it will definitely increase our margins and more important we need to utilise our capacity."


Sapura Resources posts RM7.14m net profit in 2Q

KUALA LUMPUR: SAPURA RESOURCES BHD [] net profit for the second quarter ended July 31, 2011 jumped to RM7.14 million from RM2.04 million a year earlier, due to better rental rates achieved from its property investment business.

It said on Thursday, Sept 15 that revenue for the quarter rose to RM5.12 million from RM4.20 million in 2010.

Earnings per share was 5.11 sen compared to 1.46 sen, while net assets per share was RM2.26.

Reviewing its performance, Sapura Resources said its net profit for the six months ended July 31 surged to RM137.73 million from RM3.88 million in 2010, due mainly to the gain from the disposal of 51% interest and the fair value gain on re-measurement of the 49% interest retained in its education business.

On its prospects, Sapura Resources said it would mainly be involved in the property and education businesses, and continue to develop the education business together with Ekuinas.

The company said barring unforeseen circumstances, it expects to record positive results for the financial year ending Jan 31, 2012.

KLCI falls to fresh one-year low

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI fell to a fresh one-year low on Thursday, Sept 15 as investors took profit ahead of the extended weekend in conjunction with the Malaysia Day holiday on Friday.

Meanwhile, Asian markets mostly closed higher on slight optimism that Germany and France would assist Greece from defaulting on its debts.

However, the gains were limited as investors remain skeptical over the fragile global economy.

Also, a statement by World Bank President Robert Zoellick on Wednesday that the world had entered a new economic danger zone and Europe, Japan and the United States all needed to make hard decisions to avoid dragging down the global economy, appeared to still weigh heavily on investors' minds.

"Unless Europe, Japan, and the United states can also face up to responsibilities they will drag down not only themselves, but the global economy," Zoellick said in speech at George Washington University.

The FBM KLCI fell 0.46% or 6.68 points to close at 1,430.93, the lowest level in a year, since Sept 1, 2010, dragged by losses at blue chips including at Sime Darby and CIMB.

The index had earlier fallen to its intraday low of 1,427.75 but managed to pare down some of its losses.

Losers beat gainers by 393 to 291, while 296 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 729.27 million valued at RM1.53 billion.

At the regional markets, Japan's NIkkei rose 1.76% to 8,668.86, Taiwan's Taiex was up 2.17% to 7,385.68, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.71% to 19,181.5, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.42% to 1,774.08 and the Singapore Straits Times Index gained 0.97% to close at 2,765.95.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index fell0.23% to 2,479.05.

On Bursa Malaysia, Sime Darby was the top loser and fell 47 sen to RM8 with 16.38 million shares traded.

Other decliners included Hong Leong Bank that lost 40 sen to RM11.36, Panasonic 30 sen to RM20.30, Lysaght 20 sen to RM1.51, JT International 16 sen to RM6.44, while United PLANTATION []s, Nilai, Litrak and Boustead lost 11 sen each to RM17.76, RM1.16, RM3.55 and RM5.10 respectively, and CIMB down four sen to RM6.98.

E&O was the most actively traded counter with 26.92 million shares done. The stock gained three sen to RM1.54.

Other actives included Systech, Tejari, UEM Land, AirAsia, Sime, CIMB and Axiata.

Meanwhile, gainers included DiGi, Petronas Gas, Warisan, Parkson, Dutch Lady, Tasek, Tradewinds Plantations, Berjaya Sports Toto and QSR.


KLCI falls to fresh year-low, Sime, AirAsia down

KUALA LUMPUR: Selling pressure picked up pace when trading resumed after the midday break on Thursday, Sept 15 with Sime Darby and AirAsia among the major decliners.

At 2.48pm, the FBM KLCI was down 4.54 to 1,433.07, after hitting a 53-week low on Wednesday. Turnover was 332.78 million shares done valued at RM561.14 million. There were 218 gainers, 305 losers and 287 stocks unchanged.

Sime fell 29 sen to RM8.18 with 3.45 million shares done. BAT lost 46 sen to RM43.80 in thin trade but worries about a hike in tax duties also impacted sentiment.

Hong Leong Bank lost 18 sen to RM11.58 and RHB Cap 13 sen to RM8.10. AirAsia lost 13 sen to RM3.30.

Among the gainers were KL Kepong, up 32 sen to RM21.44, Tradewinds PLANTATION []s 10 sen to RM3.56. e DiGi, which came under selling pressure over the past week, rose 30 sen to RM31.04. BToto and QSR rose 11 sen each to RM4.37 and RM5.68 as they were viewed as defensive counters.

UBS trader in $2 bln loss on unauthorised trade

ZURICH: Switzerland's UBS said on Thursday, Sept 15 it had discovered that unauthorized trading by a trader in its investment bank has caused a loss of some $2 billion.

"It is possible that this could lead UBS to report a loss for the third quarter of 2011. No client positions were affected," the bank said in a brief statement just before the stock market opened.

UBS shares immediately tumbled 8 percent. - Reuters

Catcha Media's RM12.3m foray into luxury goods biz

KUALA LUMPUR: Catcha Media Bhd is acquiring a Singapore-based company Haute Groupe Pte Ltd'' which also sells luxury good online for S$5 million or RM12.34 million.

Catcha Media said on Thursday, Sept 15 it was acquiring the entire equity from Loong Siew Fong and her spouse Low Choong Lang.

Haute Groupe's core activities are retail of bags, luggage and travel accessories and the wholesale of bags, luggage and travel accessories. It also operates the luxury flash sales website and luxury flash sales event business.

Loong and Low had set up Haute Avenue LLP and Haute Republique LLP in November 2009 and July 2010 respectively to sell luxury goods at a discount for a limited time in warehouses/public halls.

On Dec 9, 2010, Haute Groupe was incorporated to assume the seWarehouse Sales business of Haute Avenue LLP and Haute Republique LLP from Loong and Low. In March 2011, it begun operating

The terms of the sale and purchase agreement included a profit guarantee, which was calculated on the basis that the unqualified audited net profit after tax for the 12-month period commencing on the first day of the calendar month immediately after the completion date is not less than S$1.5 million.

In a separate statement, Catcha Media director Patrick Grove said: 'We are very excited to be working on this proposed acquisition of

'There is an enormous opportunity to leverage our existing user database of about nine million Malaysians every month and to bring's product offering to a much larger, regional market.

'We believe we can add significant value to the business almost instantly, in particular by leveraging our Malaysian audience to deploy and market the business rapidly in the Malaysian online market at very little additional cost.'


#Flash* Ekuinas investing RM98.3m in Burger King, San Francisco Coffee

KUALA LUMPUR:'' Ekuiti Nasional Berhad (Ekuinas) is investing a total of RM98.3 million into the Burger King and San Francisco Coffee franchises, marking its entry into the fast growing consumer food and beverage sector.

The government-linked private equity fund management company announced on Thursday, Sept 15 that it would be investing RM68.2 million into the local franchise of Burger King, which involves a capital injection of RM60 million into Malaysian franchisee Cosmo Restaurants Sdh Bhd.

Ekuinas also announced it was acquiring a 90% equity stake in Lyndarahim Ventures Sdn Bhd, which is the owner and operator of San Francisco Coffee, for a total investment of RM17.5 million out of which RM14.5 million will be injected as new capital into the company.

The two investments will see Ekuinas aggressively expanding the Malaysian operations of Burger King and transforming the operations of San Francisco Coffee.

Genting unveils US$3 bln Miami resort-casino plan

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay-led Genting Group has unveiled an artist impression of its planned US$3 billion resort with four hotels, 50 restaurants along Biscayne Bay in Miami that could be completed within three to five years, if it gets a casino license.

'If destination casinos are approved in the next year or two, they'll build it all at once,' Genting spokesman Tadd Schwartz was quoted by in a report dated Wednesday, Sept 14. "If not, they'll build it as the market demands, and take 10 to 15 years."

Genting, whom alongside the world's biggest casino names like Las Vegas Sands' Sheldon Adelson who had been lobbying for Florida legislators to allow gaming outside tribal areas, is the first to unveil a big scale plan that could change Miami's and the broader Florida state's economic outlook if the Singapore-style multiplier effect is attained.

The project that would change Miami's skyline would create up to 15,000 CONSTRUCTION [] jobs and employ 30,000 in the long-term, the quoted Genting officials as saying.

While architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia, who reportedly showed renderings of fish-shaped buildings, breezeways with ocean views and a 3.6-acre beach and swimmable lagoon, insists Genting sees gaming as 'just one of many amenities', analysts say Genting would have a harder time getting returns on its investment if a casino is not part of the equation. That is mirrored by how construction will only be fast-tracked once it gets a go-ahead to offer blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, slot machines and other gaming favourites on the property built on a 13.9 acre site where the Miami Herald building sits.

Genting proposes 5,200 rooms spread over four hotel towers, two condos with 1,000 units, a convention center and shopping, 50 restaurants and nightclubs covering about 10 million sq ft on that land it paid US$236 million for on May 27 this year, according to the report. A spot on the third and fourth floors have been staked aside for a casino.

"If you just drop a square box with slot machines and table games you won't have much of an economic impact," Colin Au, a principal in the Genting group was quoted as saying in the report. "But we think this will be the finest resort in America."

Architect Fort-Brescia sees the Resorts World site as a centerpiece to the three-mile section that runs past Bayfront Park, Bayside, AmericanAirlines Arena and the Adrienne Arsht Center. "When you describe Miami and Florida, you inevitably come back to the water," he reportedly said. "We've captured that relationship with this design."

The state has yet to approve any kind of destination casino, let alone Genting's plan specifically, wrote. The report also quotes John Lockwood, a gaming law expert in Tallahassee who represents several gambling interests as saying: "The Genting proposal creates a unique policy decision for state lawmakers that will require balance between generating substantial state revenue and creating a competitive environment where the destination casinos, pari-mutuel facilities and Seminole Tribe can prosper.'

US Representative Erik Fresen, R-Miami, and Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, reportedly say they will propose legislation for companies such as Genting to bid on licenses for resort-style casinos in South Florida. "It won't be geared toward any one vendor," Bogdanoff reportedly said. "We're coming up with a concept and a framework, but at the end of the day you're going to have 160 people total [the House and the Senate] poking at this."

Genting, which already has Resorts World operations in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and soon, New York, also owns 50% of Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd that recently re-filed for listing in the US.

Mild profit-taking chips off gains on KLCI

KUALA LUMPUR: Mild profit-taking chipped some gains off the FBM KLCI at the mid-day break on Thursday, Sept 15 ahead of the extended weekend with the local market closed for the Malaysia Day holiday on Friday.

Sentiment at the regional markets was also wary despite Germany and France voicing their commitment to keeping debt-ladened Greece in the euro zone, with investors remaining skeptical over the measures to be adopted to find a more permanent solution to the euro zone debt crisis.

The FBM KLCI pared down its gains and was up a marginal 0.06% or 0.80 point to 1,438.41 at 12.30pm. The index had earlier risen to its intra-morning high of 1,443.51.

Losers overtook gainers by 268 to 213, while 296 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 269.38 million shares valued at RM451.01 million.

The ringgit weakened 0.23% to 3.0853 versus the US dollar; crude palm oil futures for the third month delivery fell RM8 per tonne to RM3,036, crude oil slipped 31 cents per barrel to US$88.60 and gold lost US$6.55 an ounce to US$1,813.07.

At the regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.58% to 8,653.20, Taiwan's Taiex was up 2.02% to 7,374.32, South Korea's Kospi added 0.97% to 1,766.17, Singapore's Straits Times Index gained 0.55% to 2,754.46 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.47% to 19,134.45.

On Bursa Malaysia, KLK was the top gainer and rose 36 sen to RM21.48; DiGi added 30 sen to RM31.04, Nestle 22 sen to RM50, Dutch Lady 18 sen to RM19.70, IOI Corp and QSR 12 sen each to RM4.73 and RM5.69, Parkson 11 sen to RM5.45, Bonia and AFG 10 sen each to RM1.60 and RM3.50, while EKIB added eight sen to 61 sen.

Tejari was the most actively traded counter with 19.4 million shares done. The stock was unchanged at 5.5 sen.

Other actives included Systech, E&O, AirAsia, LBS, CIMB and Axiata.

Losers this morning included BAT, Quality Concrete, Panasonic, Hong Leong Bank, Nilai, UMW, Pos Malaysia and JT International.

BAT, JTI down on concerns on hike in tobacco duty

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO (M) [] Bhd and JT INTERNATIONAL BHD [] fell at midday on Thursday, Sept 15 on concerns of a hike in the tobacco duty in the Budget 2012 proposals which will be unveiled on Oct 7.

At 11.56am, BAT was down 56 sen to RM43.70 but in thin volume of 1,600 shares done while JTI lost 15 sen to RM6.45 with 13,000 units transacted.

The FBM KLCI was a marginal 0.55 of a point up at 1,438.16 after closing at a 53-week low on Wednesday. There were 232.03 million shares done valued at RM370.32 million. There were 224 gainers, 241 losers and 272 stocks unchanged.

OSK Research said it expected a moderate hike in tobacco duty in the upcoming Budget but it believes that the breweries will be spared.

'We are NEUTRAL on tobacco but OVERWEIGHT on breweries. We believe that the high illicit trade and diminishing duty collection in the tobacco sector make a strong case against a drastic increase.

'We prefer BAT to JTI as the former is less exposed to VFM brands which are more price elastic and prone to substitution. For the breweries, we do not see a hike since beer duty is already the 2nd highest globally while consumption is comparatively low. Our top pick among the breweries is GAB given its more defensive PROPERTIES [],' it said.

MIDF Research keeps Buy on Wah Seong Corp

KUALA LUMPUR: MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd research is keeping its BUY recommendation for Wah Seong Corporation with an unchanged Target Price of RM2.73.

It said on Thursday, Sept 15, this is based on unchanged 15.7 times price-to-earnings for FY11, which is within its three-year historical average of 12.9 times to 24.6 times.

'We like Wah Seong Corp'' given its exposure to Australia LNG industry. On the local front, we expect recently announced gas project known as North Malay Basin, of which a new 200km pipeline to transport gas from the fields to Kerteh will be develop, to be the near-term catalyst to Wah Seong Corp,' it said.

KLCI edges above 1,440-level at mid-morning

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI edged above the 1,440-point level on Thursday, Sept 15 in line with the gains at key regional markets.

However, trading sentiment remained cautious ahead of the long weekend, with the stock market closed on Friday for the Malaysia Day holiday.

Asian stocks bounced on Thursday yet investors remained wary that obstacles which policymakers face in Europe could weigh on the euro and Asian currencies in the medium term, according to Reuters.

The FBM KLCI added 4.31 points to 1,441.92 at 10am, lifted by gains at select blue chips.

Gainers led losers by 223 to 91, while 170 counters traded unchanged. Volume was thin with 85.73 million shares valued at RM105.53 million.

At the regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.67% to 8,660.93, Taiwan's Taiex gained 2.10% to 7,380.38, South Korea's Kospi up 1.50% to 1,775.37, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.47% to 19,135.90 and Singapore's Straits Times Index edged up 0.41% to 2,750.64.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.13% to 2,481.52.

BIMB Securities Research in a note Sept 15 said positive remarks from European leaders on Greece had somewhat soothed investors anxiety on the country.

This was a welcome development as damaging rumours coupled with Moody's downgrade on SocGen and Credit Agricole had earlier threatened to derail the European markets, it said.

Underpinned by the positive European markets, Wall Street itself experienced a relief rally with a 140 point gain, it said.

'Regionally, trading were mixed pre-empted by Greece's problems and may see a rebound today following the encouraging news overnight.

'As for Malaysia, it was indeed surprising to see the FBM KLCI dipping below the 1,440 level yesterday and would expect the index to stage a meaningful rebound today revisiting the 1,450 target,' it said.

On Bursa Malaysia, the top gainer at mid-morning was KLK that rose 38 sen to RM21.50; DiGi added 24 sen to RM30.98, Nestle 22 sen to RM50, Malayan Flour Mills 14 sen to RM7.02, Petronas Dagangan and Tradewinds 12 sen each to RM17.36 and RM8.90, DKSH and Bonia 10 sen each to RM1.63 and RM1.60, while TSH and Parkson gained nine sen each to RM3.12 and RM5.43.

Systech was the most actively traded counter with 9.68 million shares done. The stock added half a sen to 26 sen.

Other actives included E&O, Tejari, LBS, UEM Land, PLUS, Tiger and GPRO.

Decliners at mid-morning included Asia File, Hong Leong Bank, F&N, Harrisons, Boustead and Genting PLANTATION []s.

Cypark advances on new RM29.88m contract

KUALA LUMPUR: CypARK RESOURCES BHD [] shares received a boost on Thursday, Sept 15 from the RM29.88 million contract it secured from Putrajaya Holdings Bhd for infrastructure, landscape and road works in Putrajaya.

At 10.25am, Cypark rose four sen to RM1.77 with 153,000 shares traded.

The company had earlier today announced that it had accepted the letter of award for the project from Putrajaya Holdings on Sept 14.

Cypark said the contract was to be completed in September 2013.

'The works are expected to contribute positively to the earnings of Cypark for the financial years ending Oct 31, 2011 and 2012,' it said.

CIMB Research has technical sell on Public Bank

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research has a technical sell on PUBLIC BANK BHD [] at RM12.84 at which it is trading at a FY12 price-to-earnings of 11 times and price to book value of 3.3 times.

It said on Thursday, Sept 15 the recent rebound from the August lows has taken prices back up to almost its 62%FR levels before prices took a tumble again. The stiff resistance and the large gap kept the bulls at bay.

'Technical landscape is still weak as its MACD is turning down again while its RSI remained below the 50-pts neutral mark,' it said.

CIMB Research'' said traders should go short here with a stop placed above RM13.28.

It expected'' prices to take out the recent low RM12.52 in the short term. A break below this low is likely to take prices towards RM11.80-RM12.05 levels in the short to medium term, it said.

CIMB Research has technical sell on Public Bank

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research has a technical sell on PUBLIC BANK BHD [] at RM12.84 at which it is trading at a FY12 price-to-earnings of 11 times and price to book value of 3.3 times.

It said on Thursday, Sept 15 the recent rebound from the August lows has taken prices back up to almost its 62%FR levels before prices took a tumble again. The stiff resistance and the large gap kept the bulls at bay.

'Technical landscape is still weak as its MACD is turning down again while its RSI remained below the 50-pts neutral mark,' it said.

CIMB Research'' said traders should go short here with a stop placed above RM13.28.

It expected'' prices to take out the recent low RM12.52 in the short term. A break below this low is likely to take prices towards RM11.80-RM12.05 levels in the short to medium term, it said.

CIMB Research has technical sell on AMMB

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research has a technical sell on AMMB HOLDINGS BHD [] at RM6.25 at which it is trading at a FY12 price-to-earnings of 11.6 times and price to book value of 1.8 times.

It said on Thursday, Sept 15 AMMB continued to trade sideways between RM6 and RM6.70 for the past six months after falling from the high of RM7.18.

'This sideways trend could potentially linger for a little while longer,' it said.

CIMB Research said the technical landscape is deteriorating with prices below its moving averages. Both MACD and RSI remained below water, supporting the short term bearish view.

'There is a good chance that prices continue to work its way lower towards the lower end of the trading band mentioned above in the coming days and weeks.

'As long as prices remain below RM6.70, the short term odds favour the bears. A break below RM6.00 on volume would be detrimental to the stock, where it could potentially test RM5.50 and RM5.00 next,' it said.

Maybank Research maintains Sell on Proton, unch TP RM2.64

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Investment Bank Research said PROTON HOLDINGS BHD []'s consolidating partnership with Mitsubishi could see both parties collaborating on Proton's compact car and Mitsubishi using Proton's Tanjung Malim plant manufacturing for its export market for ASEAN region.

'Our forecasts are maintained for now in the absence of details. While this development in sentiment positive, our views are unchanged at this stage,' it said on Thursday, Sept 15.

'We reckon reviving Lotus will gravely hurt Proton's earnings and balance sheet over the next few years. Maintain Sell with an unchanged RM2.64 target price, based on 0.3x book,' it said.

Cypark gets RM29.88m job from Putrajaya Holdings

KUALA LUMPUR: CypARK RESOURCES BHD [] has secured a RM29.88 million contract from Putrajaya Holdings Bhd for infrastructure, landscape and road works in Putrajaya.

It said on Thursday, Sept 15 that it had accepted the letter of award for the project from Putrajaya Holdings on Sept 14.

Cypark said the contract was to be completed in September 2013.

'The works are expected to contribute positively to the earnings of Cypark for the financial years ending Oct 31, 2011 and 2012,' it said.

Facebook to delay IPO until late 2012

NEW YORK: Facebook will delay its initial public offering until the end of next year so employees can focus on developing products for the No. 1 social networking website, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, Sept 14.

Facebook, which is expected to have one of the biggest IPOs in history, plans to go public at the end of 2012, a later public debut than it originally planned, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the company.

The newspaper reported that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to delay an IPO until September or later in 2012 so employees can stay "focused on product developments rather than a pay-out." The decision was not related to market conditions, the paper said.

Facebook could not be reached for comment.

Sources told Reuters earlier this month that Facebook's revenue doubled to $1.6 billion in the first half of 2011. Investors have pushed its valuation to roughly $80 billion in the private markets. - Reuters

Nikkei opens up on hopes for Europe debt progress

TOKYO: The Nikkei average rose on Thursday after U.S. stocks marked their third day of gains following European leaders' suggestion of renewed resolve to contain the euro-zone debt crisis.

The Nikkei was up 1.5 percent at 8,644.45. The broader Topix index added 1.2 percent to 750.59. ' Reuters

Seoul shares bounce amid renewed eurozone hopes

SEOUL: Seoul shares opened nearly 3 percent higher on Thursday after sharp falls in the previous session, lifted by optimism over tentative steps to resolve Europe's debt problems.

But Kolon Industries shares tumbled by the daily limit of 15 percent after news a U.S. federal jury awarded DuPont $919.9 million in damages on Wednesday, ruling the South Korean company stole trade secrets for a fiber used to make Kelvar bulletproof vests.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 3.27 percent at 1,806.39 points as of 0007 GMT. ' Reuters

HDBSVR sees temporary lift for sentiment

KUALA LUMPUR: Hwang DBS Vickers Research said market sentiment in Asia, including Bursa Malaysia, could get a temporarily boost on Thursday, Sept 15.

It said U.S. equities were up last night, lifting key bellwethers on Wall Street by between 1.3% and 1.6% at the closing bell on hopes that major European nations would work to prevent a Greece collapse while China might consider buying European sovereign bonds.

HDBSVR said as for the benchmark FBM KLCI, it might may stage a technical rebound after suffering a drop of 31.5-point or 2.1% so far this week, possibly pulling away from its immediate support level of 1,435.

Still, in view of the volatile external backdrop, investors will likely be cautious ahead of the extended weekend break.

'Counters that may get added interest today include: (a) Proton following a news report saying that it is close to signing a collaboration agreement with Mitsubishi Motors for the Japanese automaker to utilize Proton's production facility; and (b) SP Setia, which is due to announce its latest financial results later Thursday, after seeing its share price falling 17.7% this month,' it said.

Asian stocks set to rise but mood cautious on euro zone

SYDNEY: Asian stocks are set to open higher on Thursday after advances on Wall Street, but the mood will remain cautious amid fears of more ugly surprises stemming from Europe's debt crisis.

U.S. stocks rose 1 percent in a third day of gains on Wednesday after European leaders showed urgency in efforts to contain the euro-zone debt crisis. Italy also finally approved its austerity package.

Asian stocks listed on Wall Street rose only 0.3 percent, but Japanese and Australian stock futures pointed to healthy gains in the day ahead.

Nikkei futures traded in Chicago last traded at 8,585 points, about 125 points above the last close in Osaka. The benchmark Nikkei lost 1.1 percent to close at a near-five-month low of 8,518.57.

Australian stock futures also indicated a higher open, up 72 points at 4,088, compared with Monday's close in the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index of 4005.77. ' Reuters


US STOCKS-Push for action in euro zone fuels gains

NEW YORK: U.S. stocks rose 1 percent in a third day of gains on Wednesday after European leaders displayed new urgency in efforts to contain the euro zone debt crisis.

German and French leaders called on Greece to implement all financial reforms "strictly and effectively," a German government spokesman said.

Greece expects policymakers to report that Athens is on track to fulfill its targets and receive the aid it needs to avoid any chance of a debt default, a Greek official said.

Adding to the relief for investors, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won a confidence vote on an austerity plan for Italy, the euro zone's third-largest economy.

Fears that Europe's crisis could plunge it into recession and drag down global growth have hammered stocks for weeks. Stocks that are typically well positioned to benefit from economic growth, such as General Electric and other industrial shares, were top gainers.

"What we're watching is global hedge funds, at least momentarily, throw the risk-trade switch back on, directing funds away from the dollar and into the euro and into global equities," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Sentiment received an early boost after Europe's top bureaucrat said plans for a common euro zone bond, seen by many as a key tool to ease the region's festering debt crisis, would soon be presented.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 140.88 points, or 1.27 percent, at 11,246.73. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 15.81 points, or 1.35 percent, at 1,188.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 40.40 points, or 1.60 percent, at 2,572.55.

The S&P 500 is still down 11.6 percent since July 22, roughly when the market's recent slide began.

The actions by European leaders followed an urgent call by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for them to act forcefully to solve Europe's debt crisis. Geithner said they have the financial and economic capacity to do so.

Geithner will attend an informal meeting of EU finance ministers in Poland on Friday.

Conglomerate GE ended 2.5 percent higher at $15.79. Tech stocks also were among top gainers, and the Nasdaq outperformed the other two major indexes for a third day.

Shares of Nvidia Corp jumped 5.2 percent to $15.28, while SanDisk Corp, another chip maker, rose 4.2 percent to $42.66.

Dell Inc added 3.3 percent to $14.86 a day after its board authorized an additional $5 billion stock buyback program.

Volume was 8.5 billion shares on the NYSE, Amex and Nasdaq, above last year's average of roughly 7.6 billion.

Advancers beat decliners by nearly 11 to 4 on the NYSE and by about 9 to 3 on the Nasdaq.

The day's U.S. economic data was mostly brushed aside by investors. Growth in retail sales stalled in August while business inventories rose slightly less than expected in July, suggesting caution by firms about demand at the start of the third quarter. ' Reuters


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ahmad Jauhari Yahya appointed MAS managing director

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD [] has appointed Ahmad Jauhari Yahya as its managing director with effect from Sept 19, 2011, filling in the position left vacant by Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin who resigned from the airline last month.

Ahmad Jauhari was formerly managing director (MD) of Malakoff Bhd from 1994-2010, MD of MALAYSIAN RESOURCES CORP []oration Bhd in 1993 and MD of TIME ENGINEERING BHD [] in 1992.

In a filing Sept 14, MAS said Ahmad Jauhari had also held various positions at The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd and ESSO MALAYSIA BHD [], and a director of Central Electricity Generating Company Ltd (Jordan) and Shuaibah Expansion Project Company Ltd (Saudi Arabia).

It said he was also the honorary president of Penjanabebas (Association of Independent Power Producers in Malaysia), and that a director in Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

MAS also said Mohmmed Rashdan Mohd Yusof would remain as executive director reporting to the managing director.

KLCI closes at lowest level in a year

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI closed at its lowest level since Sept 9, 2010 on Wednesday, Sept 14, in line with the fall at most regional markets on concerns of worsening euro zone debt crisis.

The FBM KLCI fell 0.72% or 10.39 points to 1,437.61, weighed by losses including at Sime Darby, Genting and Tenaga.

Market breadth was negative with 583 losers, 163 gainers and 280 counters trading unchanged. Volume was 766.82 million shares valued at RM1.31 billion.

At the regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.14% to 8,518.57, South Korea's Kospi lost 3.52% to 1,749.16 and Taiwan's Taiex was down 2.20% to 7,228.47.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index reversed earlier losses and was up 0.55% to 2,484.83; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.08% to 19,045.44 and Singapore's Straits Times Index gained 0.37% to 2,739.35.

European shares turned positive on Wednesday after European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the commission will soon present options for the introduction of common euro bonds, which some believe can help resolve the debt crisis, according to Reuters.

Barroso told the European Parliament that some of these could be implemented within the terms of the current European treaty, whereas others would require treaty changes, it said.

On Bursa Malaysia, Sime Darby fell 23 sen to RM8.47, Genting lost 16 sen to RM9.44, Tenaga nine sen to RM5.12, United PLANTATION []s 60 sen to RM17.90, Warisan 42 sen to RM2.22, Tahps and DiGi 38 sen each to RM4 and RM30.74, Ta Ann 35 sen to RM4.80, Panasonic 28 sen to RM20.60, Supermax 26 sen to RM2.32, Bernas 23 sen to RM3.17 and Nestle 22 sen to RM49.78.

Systech was the most actively traded counter with 36 million shares done. The stock fell 3.5 sen to 25.5 sen.

Other actives included E&O, AirAsia, Karambunai, UEM Land, Takaso, CIMB and Axiata.

Gainers included BAT, Batu Kawan, Dutch Lady, Shell, PPB and BRDB.


ISIS: Budget proposals must support domestic growth

KUALA LUMPUR: The upcoming Budget 2012 proposals should contain measures to ensure growth momentum of the domestic economy, Institute of
Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia Chief Executive Datuk Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin said.

"I hope the government will prepare some measures in case the global economy slows down a bit next year. We have to think about it -- how we can keep the domestic economy's momentum if there's a global slowdown," she said on Wednesday, Sept 14.

She said the budget, to be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Parliament on Oct 7, should also discuss how the government would
effectively help the people who needed support.

"Rising prices have been an issue and the government recognises this. We need to think of effective measures. Subsidies that have been implemented have benefited some free riders, people who don't deserve it.

"The prime minister wants to look into this -- how to help the lower income group. The target group is important," she told reporters at the launch of
Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011 here.

Mahani said the budget should also introduce some measures to restructure the economy to ensure it stays competitive.

"We should not just look at managing it for next year, that's short term. We have to look as some structural issues such as the labour market, in
terms of how to deal with wages.

"We must have a mechanism that links wages with productivity. We cannot just increase wages. This issue is important for Malaysia because we have to be competitive. But, at the same time, we need people to have higher wages," she added. - Bernama

Glomac Thai subsidiary sells stake for RM30.9m

KUALA LUMPUR: GLOMAC BHD []'s Thai subsidiary is disposing of its stake in Thai company WHA Glomac Alliance Company Lltd for baht 289.91 million (RM30.92 million)

Glomac said on Wednesday, Sept 14, Glomac Thailand Sdn Bhd had agreed to sell its 49% stake in WHA Glomac Alliance to WHA Corporation Co. Ltd.

'The proposed disposal is expected to be completed by end of September 2011,' it said.

Glove makers continue slide

KUALA LUMPUR: Glove makers continued to see selling pressure on Wednesday, Sept 14 on concerns about the weak demand for the products as well as still high latex prices.

At the close, Supermax fell 26 sen to RM2.32, Kossan 11 sen to RM2.60, Top Glove nine sen to RM4.08, Adventa five sen to RM1.51, Latexx four sen to RM1.35 and Hartalega two sen to RM5.53.

Analysts have maintained a negative outlook for the sector as there were no strong catalysts to boost glove demand as well as profit margin, in the absence of a pandemic.

'We believe the industry has not seen any significant improvement in demand either since there were no new markets or health scares,' said OSK Research in a note Sept 14.

Notion VTec seeks buyers for tool design subsidiary

KUALA LUMPUR: Hard disk drive manufacturer NOTION VTEC BHD [] seeks to dispose of its 70% stake in Swiss Impression Sdn Bhd, which is involved in the tool design for consumer electronic devices.

The company said on Wednesday, Sept 14 it was looking to dispose of the subsidiary due to the uncertain outlook of the latter's financial position and the current challenging environment for the industry.

Swiss Impression is involved in the design of tooling and volume manufacturing of high precision appearance parts using progressive die stamping for digital cameras, MP3 players and other consumer electronic devices.

Notion VTec appointed Ferrier Hodgson MH Sdn Bhd of Monteiro & Heng Chambers to assist in the proposed disposal.

It added the disposal will not have any effect on shareholder interest, earnings per share, net assets per share or gearing.

Bernas hits 6-day low, ex-dividend may support

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Padibernas Nasional Bhd slumped to a six-day low of RM3.21 in late afternoon trade on Wednesday, Sept 14 in line with the weak market sentiment.

However, its interim dividend of 15% taxable dividend, which goes ex on Sept 21, could provide some support. The dividend would be paid on Oct 21.

At 3.47pm, Bernas was down 19 sen to RM3.21 with 453,400 shares done.

The FBM KLCI fell 9.15 points to 1,438.85. Turnover was 560.40 million shares valued at RM849.42 million. Declining stocks beat advancers 610 to 115 while 232 counters were unchanghed.

At RM3.21, this was the lowest for Bernas since last week, when it closed at RM3.15 on Sept 6.

The share price surged to RM3.38, up 23 sen, on Sept 7 in heavy volume after Bernas announced the ex date for the dividend on Sept 6.

Khazanah says timing of market to divest GLCs crucial

KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd has identified the government-linked companies which it plans to divest but this will hinge on the timing of the market recovery.

Managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said on Wednesday, Sept 14: "We have identified (the companies we intend to divest) but all kinds of analyses are still needed and we have to observe the timing in the case that things change".

He said Khazanah would hold off on divesting if the market was deemed to be weak and this would also depend on the companies' balance sheet.

"We will divest businesses that are non-core or non-competitive,an electricity or telecommunications company for example, should not have a travel business and others can perhaps do better," he said on the sidelines of Forbes Global CEO Conference.

Azman said Khazanah was currently in year seven of the 10-year GLC Transformation Programme and that Khazanah had been divesting "in quite a disciplined way".

Khazanah Nasional recently divested POS MALAYSIA BHD [] to DRB Hicom Bhd. "(POS) was reasonably competitive but we felt it would be more so under a new competitor and we got a good, fair price under the deal. Now it is up to them to raise value (for POS)," he said.

SC will announce stock transactions over Sime-E&O deal

KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) will review all stock transactions made by all parties over the relevant period related to SIME DARBY BHD []'s acquisition of a 30% stake in property developer Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O).

SC chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar said on Wednesday, Sept 14, the details would be announcement when they are ready.

'We will let you when it is ready,' she said.

To recap, the SC had on Monday said it is viewing all 'stock transactions by all parties' in Sime Darby's acquisition of the 30% stake in E&O after it was queried by the investing public and shareholder activists alike.

Sime Darby had proposed to pay RM2.30 per E&O share for the block from three major shareholders - Datuk Terry Tham Ka Hon, Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah and GK Goh Holdings Ltd - at a price that worked out to a 60% premium to market.

Some quarters suggested that Sime Darby should be forced into making a mandatory general offer for E&O as the company, together with the three shareholders who sold the 30% block, have about 41% equity interest.

Japan's post-quake economic rebound set to fizzle, says S&P


KUALA LUMPUR: ''Japan's post-quake economic recovery is likely to fall short of previous expectations, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

In a report published Wednesday, Sept 14, S&P said Japan was set to post only 1.2% gross domestioc product (GDP) growth in the second half of 2011, bringing full-year GDP close to 0%.

'We expect Japan's economic growth to pick up in 2012, at 2.3%.

'Our pre-quake estimate for 2011 GDP growth had been 1.3%, which would have placed Japan among the front-runners of developed economies in rebounding from the global downturn,' it said.

The rating agency said Japan's economy had shown some signs of recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March and the ensuing nuclear crisis.

However, several factors appeared to have hamstrung the recovery, including the government's slow policy response to the disaster, it said.

'Delays in government programs have hampered reCONSTRUCTION [] efforts in disaster-hit areas, business and industrial sectors continue to struggle with power shortages, and the government made an about-face in its energy policy by saying it would consider halting use of nuclear power, although Yoshihiko Noda, the new prime minister, has said the country would aim for a more gradual phase-out to reduce the shock to the economy,' said S&P.

Meanwhile, uncertainty over the global economy and the looming risk of a double-dip recession in the U.S. have overshadowed a rebound in Japanese exports, it said.

'The yen's sharp appreciation against major currencies may also undermine Japan's recovery.

'As a result, we see the rebound in the second half of 2011 as likely to be less robust than our earlier expectations,' said S&P.



MAS ex-MD Abdul Aziz cautious of MAS-AirAsia share swap

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD [] (MAS) former managing director Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman has expressed caution about the share-swap deal between MAS and AIRASIA BHD [], pointing out this corporate exercise may not resolve MAS's woes.

He was quoted saying by Bernama on Wednesday, Sept 14 that the share swap would not necessarily mean a solution to the ailing national carrier which continues to suffer losses due to high operating costs.

MAS recorded an operating loss of RM413 million year-on-year in 2Q ended June 30 compared to a RM286 million loss a year earlier, due mainly to higher fuel cost.

Abdul Aziz, who was MAS managing director and chief executive officer from 1982 till September 1991,'' also said MAS and AirAsia should disclose more details about the nature of their collaboration to clear the air among various stakeholders in the country.

He pointed out that instead of a share swap, stakeholders should find out the reasons for MAS' current position, which in was due to two possible causes.

'Firstly, it was due to lack of good management over the past 15 years and secondly, it may be caused by the government's failure to have an orderly air transport policy.

"As far as I am concerned, AirAsia was initially approved on the ground that it travels to international routes not taken by MAS instead of what happened later, the frills-free airline was also involved in domestic routes.

'With Malaysia being a 'price-sensitive' market, this collaboration would also bring about continuous competition for MAS," said Aziz, when interviewed on 'Kerusi Panas' (Hot Seat) programme hosted by Wan Syahrina Wan Abdul Rahman of Bernama Radio24 on Tuesday night.

He said domestic travellers would opt for lower airfares rather than premium travelling.

'Under such circumstances, both airlines are not cooperating but rather competing with each other in which MAS will ultimately lose out as it relies heavily on premium air travel service,' he said.

Bernama said the share-swap deal signed last month expected to see MAS focusing on premium travel while AirAsia maintaining its grip on the low-cost sector.

Aziz said it was also illogical to conclude that domestic airlines' competitiveness in the international market would be enhanced by having a single entity through such collaboration as MAS already have the capabilities to do so.

'This move is unnecessary as MAS already has its own edge to compete globally such as quality services although it is still lacking in terms of a strong marketing strategy compared to the airlines in the Middle East,' he said.

For the future, Aziz suggested that MAS changed its way of handling flights such as introducing low-cost seats within its fleet of aircraft in order to stay competitive.

He said a thorough study was needed should such a plan was taken into consideration.

To recap, in the second quarter ended June 30, 2011 MAS posted net loss of RM526.68 million compared with net loss of RM534.73 million a year ago as it continued to be impacted by the high fuel prices.

For the six months ended June 30, MAS' net loss widened substantially to RM769.02 million from net loss RM224.68 million in 2010, despite posting higher revenue of RM6.68 billion, impacted adversely by higher fuel costs.

As for AirAsia, it reported earnings of RM104.25 million in 2Q ended June 30, 2011 as its operations were affected by higher fuel costs, which rose 31%.

Earnings fell 47.5% from the RM298.93 million a year ago. It said fuel costs increased by 31% to an average US$140 per barrel from US$106 a year ago.

'Fuel costs rose to RM441.67 million in 2Q from RM318.40 million a year ago. Other operating expenses increased to RM45.51 million from RM35.26 million,' it said.

Operating profit was reduced to RM214.80 million from RM222.55 million. Revenue declined 15.2% to RM1.07 billion compared with RM933.40 million a year ago. Earnings per share were 3.80 sen versus 7.2 sen.

Moody's cuts SocGen and CreditAgricole, BNPP still on review

Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded two of France's top banks, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole , in a new blow to efforts by European policymakers to restore market confidence in the region.

The ratings agency said it was extending its review of BNP Paribas (BNPP) , but any downgrade was unlikely to be by more than one notch.

Moody's had put the banks under review for possible downgrade on June 15, citing their exposure to Greece's debt crisis.

Moody's at the time had cited French banks' exposure to Greece's debt-stricken economy as the reason behind the review. Outside commentators had said the ratings were ripe for a downgrade because of rising borrowing costs in the face of sovereign debt turmoil.

The agency said that during the review, Moody's concerns about the structural challenges to banks' funding and liquidity profiles increased, in light of worsening of refinancing conditions.

Moody's cut SocGen's debt and deposit ratings by one notch to Aa3 from Aa2. The outlook on the long-term debt ratings was negative. Moody's anticipated that the impact of its review on the Bank Financial Strength Rating (BFSR) would be limited to a one-notch downgrade.

For Credit Agricole, Moody's downgraded its BFSR by one notch to C from C+, and cut its long-term debt and deposit ratings by one notch to Aa2 from Aa1.

However, Moody's said it believed SocGen has a level of capital that can absorb potential losses it is likely to incur on its Greek government bonds and to remain capitalized at a level consistent with its BFSR even if the creditworthiness of Irish and Portuguese government bonds were to deteriorate further.

Moody's said that BNPP had a sufficient level of profitability and capital that it can absorb potential losses it is likely to incur over time on its Greek, Portuguese and Irish exposures.

BNPP on Wednesday announced a plan to sell 70 billion euros ($95.7 billion) of risk-weighted assets to help ease mounting investor fears about French bank leverage and funding, two days after smaller rival Societe Generale unveiled a similar plan.

France's lenders -- two of which own local banks in Greece -- have the highest overall bank exposure to Greece, according to the Bank for International Settlements. They have begun to take writedowns on their Greek sovereign debt holdings as part of a new rescue package but some say not aggressively enough.

Greece vowed on Saturday to stay the course of austerity and avoid bankruptcy as anger at the country's failure to meet fiscal targets under its EU/IMF bailout reached boiling point. ' Reuters


MAS sponsors QPR's players' jerseys at home matches

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD [] (MAS) is sponsoring Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR) players' jerseys during its home matches in the Barclays Premier League (BPL) for the seasons 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.

Its partner, low-cost carrier AIRASIA BHD [] had sponsored QPR's away match and 'third' jerseys for the similar two seasons of the BPL.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia on Wednesday, Sept 14, MAS said the announcement was made on Monday, Sept 12 at the Loftus Road Stadium, QPR's home ground.

The announcement was made by MAS executive director, Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof and QPR Mr Philip Beard. Also present at the announcement was AirAsia's regional head of commercial, Kathleen Tan.

This sponsorship is considered the first in the history of professional football globally where two airlines from the same country have teamed up to sponsor a football team. This deal also showcases the commitment of the two airlines towards the success of the recently collaborative cooperation framework (CCF) concluded by both parties.

Rashdan said: 'Our sponsorship of the home jersey of QPR, together with Air Asia's sponsorship of the away jersey, is a ?rst for the Premier League. It also celebrates MAS's recent collaboration framework with Air Asia.'

'This sponsorship enables MAS to reinforce its global full-service presence and premium franchise via football fans and lovers from all over Europe, the Americas, Asia Paci?c, Australia and all the four corners of the world. This sponsorship is the ?rst major initiative of our new brand and marketing strategy that would see important advertising money spent on boosting our top line. This is a key component in our drive to regain global market share, pro?tability and pride for the people of MAS"

The new home game jersey, adorned with the MAS logo, was worn for the first time at the showdown against Newcastle United at Loftus Road Stadium on Sept 12.

Gloomy outlook drags Asian markets lower

KUALA LUMPUR: ''The FBM KLCI gave up its gains and slipped into negative territory at the mid-day break on Wednesday, Sept 14 in line with key regional markets that fell as unabated concerns over the euro zone crisis sapped investor confidence.

Asian stocks and the euro slipped on Wednesday as investors remained unconvinced that euro zone leaders have a coherent plan to tackle the bloc's sovereign debt problems, which many fear could trigger a new banking crisis, according to Reuters.

Global markets have been roiled since the end of July by the twin fears of renewed recession in the United States and Europe's protracted debt woes, which have seen Greece, Ireland and Portugal forced to take bailouts and piled bond market pressure on Italy and Spain, it said.

Adding to that was the Asian Development Bank trimming most of its 2011 and 2012 growth forecasts for the region despite noting that Asia's emerging economies are showing resilience in the face of the darkening global environment.

The FBM KLCI fell 0.55% or 7.99 points to 1,440.01 at 12.30pm, weighed by banking and key blue chip stocks.

Losers overtook gainers by 466 to 120, while 234 counters traded unchanged. Volume remained thin with 349.48 million shares valued at RM469.02 million.

The ringgit weakened 0.94% to 3.0840 versus the US dollar; crude palm oil futures for the third month delivery fell RM12 per tonne to RM2,995, crude oil fell US$1.40 per barrel to US$88.81 while gold shed 8 cents an ounce to US$1,833.52.

At the regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.05% to 8,526.11, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 1.34% to 18,775.39, Taiwan's Taiex was down 2.07% to 7,238.04, South Korea's Kospi fell 2.90% to 1,760.27, Singapore's Straits Times Index edged down 0.29% to 2,721.55 and the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.52% to 2,458.42.

On Bursa Malaysia, DiGi fell 42 sen to RM30.70, Tahps down 38 sen RM4, Petronas Dagangan 24 sen to RM17.22, Supermax 21 sen to RM2.37, Panasonic and Parkson 18 sen each to RM20.70 and RM5.28, KFC and Media Prima 15 sen each to RM3.53 and RM2.34, Genting 12 sen to RM9.48 and Tenaga 10 sen to RM5.11.

Among banking stocks, HLFG and Affin fell four sen each to RM10.96 and RM2.73, CIMB and RHB Capital down three sen to RM7.02 and RM8.23, while Maybank, AMMB and Public Bank fell two sen each to RM8.58, RM6.24 and RM12.86 respectively.

Systech was the most actively traded counter with 17.25 million shares done. The stock fell two sen to 27 sen.

Other actives included E&O, Takaso, Karambunai, GPRO, Asia EP, UEM Land, AirAsia and CIMB.

Gainers this morning included Dutch Lady, Toyo Ink, Batu Kawan, Genting PLANTATION []s, Maxtral, Hevea, Lafarge Malayan Cement and AirAsia.


Khazanah says more clarity on AirAsia X biz model needed

KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd wants more clarity on long-haul budget carrier'' AirAsia X Sdn Bhd's financial and business model before it goes ahead to acquire a 10% stake, managing director, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said.

He was quoted by Bernama as saying on Wednesday, Sept 14: 'When there is more clarity, we will be interested (to proceed).'

Khazanah, which is the government investment arm, would also have to look into the timing, if it does go ahead with the acquisition of the 10% stake.

"They have a certain timeline, in terms of when they want to go on to the next stage of evolution, such as initial public offerings and so forth," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO conference.

On AirAsia X's business model, Azman said: "We know the model does work in terms of the short-haul but for the medium and long-haul, I think it is still relatively early days. We need more clarity on that."

In August this year, Khazanah proposed to acquire 10% of AirAsia X on "terms and at a price to be mutually agreed later."

Bernama said the proposal came about following the signing of a collaboration agreement between MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD [] (MAS), AIRASIA BHD [] and AirAsia X.

The corporate exercise would see Khazanah continuing to remain as the single largest and its major shareholder of MAS and also a 10% stake in AirAsia.

Under the collaboration, the currently ailing MAS will focus on its services to be a full-service premium carrier while AirAsia will continue as a regional low-cost carrier (LCC) and AirAsia X, a medium-to-long-haul LCC.

Airline stocks advance in early trade

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of AIRASIA BHD [] and MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD [] advanced in early trade on Wednesday, Sept 14 following the airlines inking a reported multi-million sponsorship deal with Barclays Premier League outfit Queens Park Rangers (QPR).

At 9.35am, AirAsia gained five sen to RM3.48 with 812,900 shares done while MAS added three sen to RM1.48 with 147,700 shares traded.

AirAsia on Monday said it had secured the rights to have its name on QPR's away kit under a two-year, ''500,000 deal to be formalised by Sept 30.

The low cost carrier said that under the sponsorship deal, among the terms are that it would carry the designation 'Official Partner of QPR' for advertising and promotional purposes; the rights to advertise at the QPR Loftus Road Stadium on match days; home and away game tickets and hospitality benefits; and access rights, including to QPR Loftus Road stadium and training ground for promotional purposes, squad photo shoot sessions and signed QPR merchandise.

On the rational for the sponsorship agreement, AirAsia said it included brand elevation; consumer engagement and brand loyalty; branding rights and merchandising; and added public relations exposure.

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun collectively own a 75% shareholding in Tune QPR Sdn Bhd, which in turn owns a 66.02% shareholding in QPR Holdings Ltd.

Fernandes is also currently the chairman of QPR.

Meanwhile, MAS has not made any announcements to Bursa Malaysia as yet on the deal but reports have put the deal close to RM18 million.

MAS is the sponsor for QPR's home jersey kit.


ADB trims Asia growth outlook, warns on inflation, flows

MANILA: The Asian Development Bank trimmed most of its 2011 and 2012 growth forecasts for the region while noting that Asia's emerging economies are showing resilience in the face of the darkening global environment.

Fundamentals including sound budgets and high reserves offer a buffer for emerging economies, but there is no room for complacency, the Manila-based ADB warned in the update of its Asian Development Outlook on Wednesday.

The update of the Development Outlook, which was released in April, includes increases in inflation forecasts for this year.

An easing of inflation pressures could be temporary if global growth picks up, and authorities have to be ready to resume tightening monetary policy. Volatility in capital flows will complicate policymaking, the ADB said.

Despite global woes, growth will remain healthy across the region, the ADB said. Developing Asia -- made up of 45 countries in Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific -- is expected to grow 7.5 percent in 2011 and 2012.

That is down from April forecasts of 7.8 and 7.7 percent respectively, and growth of 9.0 percent in 2010.


ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda noted the tentative recovery in major industrial economies earlier this year had been undermined by the ratings downgrade of the United States, Europe's debt problems and Japan's triple disaster in March.

"Yet developing Asia's economies are continuing their steady growth," he said.

"Although led by the People's Republic of China and India, momentum is felt across the whole region."

The ADB said China is expected to grow 9.3 percent in 2011 and 9.1 percent next year, compared with the April forecasts of 9.6 and 9.2 respectively. India is now likely to grow 7.9 percent and 8.3 percent - lower than forecasts made in April of 8.2 percent for this year and 8.8 percent for 2012.

In parts of Asia, inflation concerns have eased as commodity prices have come off their 2011 peaks and worries about the global economy have grown. But the ADB said the prices could spurt higher again.

Inflation across the region was forecast at 5.8 percent this year, compared with the April projection of 5.3 percent, while the outlook for 2012 was unchanged at 4.6 percent.

"If commodity prices resume their climb and the current weakness in the global recovery turns out to be temporary, regional central banks will have to speed up the process of monetary tightening, especially where inflation is already high," the ADB said.

Many of Asia's central banks have paused their rate-hiking cycles as global uncertainties grow. China may put further tightening on hold after inflation abated somewhat in August while some analysts say India is expected to hike rates only once more by year-end as output growth falters.

The ADB said allowing some exchange rate appreciation could help contain inflation by lowering import prices, and that could be combined with temporary capital controls designed to curb unwanted hot money flows which have been preventing some policymakers from raising rates in the inflation fight.

"With real interest rates having turned negative in several countries, more monetary tightening is necessary to control inflation both over the next 2 years and the medium term, when the global economy will regain momentum," the ADB said.

The outlook for capital flows was uncertain, according to the ADB. It said that while Asia's strong economies and higher interest rates attract capital, in times when risk aversion rises, investors tend to retreat to advanced economies, so policymakers needed to prepare for volatility.

Inflows to Asia have moderated as concerns over the global economy have grown this year, the ADB said.

There were two main concerns about a surge in short-term flows. First, cash flowing in can complicate efforts to cool economies, and can weaken the effectiveness of monetary policy. Second, inflows can be followed by a destabilising reversal of cash.

"Regional policy makers may therefore find it appropriate to use well-targeted measures to improve their financial supervision and regulatory rules, as the recent short-term flows are dominated by those coming through the banking channels," the ADB said. ' Reuters


KLCI trims gains at mid-morning amidst tepid outlook

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI trimmed its gains at mid-morning on Wednesday, Sept 14 in line with the cautious sentiment across the region as the Euro zone debt crisis appeared to still weigh heavily and remained a thorn for investors.

Adding to that was the Asian Development Bank trimming most of its 2011 and 2012 growth forecasts for the region despite noting that Asia's emerging economies are showing resilience in the face of the darkening global environment.

Fundamentals including sound budgets and high reserves offer a buffer for emerging economies, but there is no room for complacency, the Manila-based ADB warned in the update of its Asian Development Outlook on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The FBM KLCI rose 2.23 points to 1,450.23 at mid-morning, lifted by gains at select blue chips. It had earlier risen to a high of 1,455.30.

Gainers led losers by 161 to 106, while 182 counters traded unchanged. Volume was thin with 72.89 million shares valued at RM75.69 million.

At the regional markets, Japan's Nikkei reversed its earlier gains and fell 0.20% to 8,599.74 and South Korea's Kospi fell 1.36% to 1,788.23.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.94% to 19,209.97, the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.20% to 2,476.24, Taiwan's Taiex was up 0.15% to 7,402.73 and Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.87% to 2,753.04.

BIMB Securities Research in a note Sept 14 said that the 'yo-yo' sentiments continued as traders were now less concerned of the impact on European banks from the ensuing crisis that was plaguing the continent at the moment.

As a result, major European bourses rebounded from Tuesday sell-off realising gains of between 1-2% and prompted Wall Street to follow suit with a 45 point increase, it said.

The research house said that regionally, market participation had been rather mixed amid no clear market directions, adding that locally the outlook remains hazy as the FBM KLCI was flat at the close yesterday.

'However, there has been selective accumulation of blue chips which should lend support to the local bourse.

'Market undertone remains jittery after Monday's 23 point decline but we expect the benchmark index to overcome the 1,450 today with the next meaningful resistance at the 1,490 threshold,' it said.

On Bursa Malaysia at mid-morning, KLK rose 16 sen to RM21.48, Toyo Ink, BAT, Genting PLANTATION []s and Lafarge Malayan Cement added 12 sen each to RM1.44, RM43.72, RM7.37 and RM7 respectively, while Hevea, IOI Corp, Dutch Lady, Batu Kawan and PPB gained eight sen each to 63 sen, RM4.69, RM19.40, RM15.70 and RM16.86 respectively.

Takaso was the most actively traded counter with 6.48 million shares done. The stock added half a sen to 21 sen.

Other actives included GPRO, Systech, Ingenuity Solutions, Flonic, E&O and AirAsia.

Decliners included DiGi, F&N, Panasonic, Taliworks, Carlsberg, Petronas Dagangan, TDM and Pintaras.