Saturday, November 12, 2011

#Stocks to watch* Dijaya, Ivory, Kimlun, KPJ, oil and gas-related counters

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 12): The FBM KLCI is expected to trend moderately higher on Monday, Nov 14 in line with the positive close at Wall Street last Friday.

Also, the statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Nov 11 that the general election would not be held this year put an end to weeks of speculation, and created what some analysts have described as offering some clarity to a nervy local market.

US stocks rose on Friday, ending higher for the week after the Italian Senate's approval of economic reforms gave investors some relief from worries about the euro zone's debt crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.19% to 12,153.68; the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 1.95% to 1,263.85, while the Nasdaq Composite Index added 2.04% to 2,678.75.

Affin Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research Dr Mohd Nazri Khan said Najib's statement was to be taken as positive for the market, as it provides for more clarity and less volatility.

'Sometimes election can heighten market fluctuation as was seen in the run-up to the Sarawak state election in April this year,' he said.

Meanwhile, MIDF Research head Zulkifli Hamzah said the market was expected to remain edgy next week, on developments in Europe, especially pertaining to the Italian government's bond auction on Monday.

Volatility had spiked up recently and the consensus was that global equity markets remain vulnerable to sharp selloff, he said.

He said Malaysia's 3Q11 GDP growth, which was slated to be unveiled on Nov 18 was not expected to be a game-changing announcement.

'Our house view is that growth may hit 5% year-on-year, which would be keeping pace with regional economies,' he said.

Zulkifli said the local equity market was currently in a period of uneasy equilibrium, but added that foreign investors appear to be keeping faith in the Malaysian market and had been gradually accumulating since early October.

'There were net buyers again this week. Yet, local investors are circumspect of the fact that remains a large overhang of foreign liquidity in the system that can decide to eject overnight,' he said.

Among the stocks that could be in focus on Monday are DIJAYA CORPORATION BHD [], Ivory PROPERTIES [] Group Bhd, Kimlun Corporation Bhd, KPJ HEALTHCARE BHD [] and oil and gas-related counters.

Dijaya and Ivory inked a joint venture agreement to develop mixed residential and commercial properties in Penang with a gross development value of RM10 billion.

The two companies said the development will be completed over the next eight years and would comprise of residential, shopping mall, hotel, office suites, office towers, retail spaces and an open mall with a boulevard.

CONSTRUCTION [] of the first phase is scheduled to begin next year, they said last Friday.

Kimlun secured a contract worth RM68 million to build a service apartment in Iskandar Malaysia in Johor.

It said last week that its wholly-owned subsidiary Kimlun Sdn Bhd had accepted the letter of award for the contract from Grand Action Sdn Bhd.

KPJ is buying four plots of land in the district of Klang, Selangor for RM23.76 million cash as part of its plans to build a specialist hospital.

KPJ on Friday said the four plots of land were situated within a mixed development undertaken by Sazean known as 'Sazean Business Park', and that Sazean would make an application to convert the category of the lands it was buying from agricultural to building/commercial.

Meanwhile, Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Shell Malaysia last week inked heads of agreement (HOA) for new enhanced oil recovery projects offshore Sabah and Sarawak, a development which may boost the oil and gas support services-related counters.

Wall Street gains for week as Italy fears ebb

NEW YORK (Nov 11): U.S. stocks jumped on Friday, ending higher for the week after the Italian Senate's approval of economic reforms gave investors some relief from worries about the euro zone's debt crisis.

After another week of volatility driven by news on the crisis, the S&P 500 managed to end 0.8 percent higher for the week. However, investors remain skittish and are taking out insurance in the options market against future losses.

Banks were among the leaders on a day when growth-oriented stocks turned in the strongest performance. Sentiment received a big boost from falling Italian bond yields, which earlier this week hit the highest level since the euro was introduced in 1999.

Stock market volatility has been closely tied to European credit markets in recent days.

"I'm both positively surprised and reassured that the European situation is not pushing us into a tailspin the way it could have," said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investment Management in Bethesda, Maryland, which manages about $13 billion.

A package of austerity measures demanded by the European Union was passed by the Senate and now goes to Italy's lower house, which is expected to approve it on Saturday.

Passage would trigger the resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Former European Commissioner Mario Monti is widely expected to take over as head of a broadly based national unity government.

In debt-strapped Greece, the prime minister-designate, Lucas Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank, will name a new crisis cabinet to roll out austerity plans.

Among the best-performing sectors for the day were an index of semiconductors, up 3.5 percent; the Dow Jones Transportation average, up 2.8 percent, and the S&P energy index, up 1.8 percent.

For the day, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 259.89 points, or 2.19 percent, to end at 12,153.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 24.16 points, or 1.95 percent, to finish at 1,263.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 53.60 points, or 2.04 percent, to close at 2,678.75.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.4 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.8 percent, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.3 percent.

Financial shares, seen as vulnerable because of their exposure to European debt, ranked among the best performers. Bank of America Corp rose 3 percent to $6.21, and JPMorgan Chase & Co gained 1.7 percent to $33.28. The KBW Bank index climbed 2.1 percent.

Despite the week's higher close, options activity suggests some investors fear the gains won't last. options strategist Frederic Ruffy pointed to a massive January $43-$49 put spread bought on the iShares MSCE EAFE Index, an exchange-traded fund that holds shares of companies from European, Australian and Far Eastern markets.

Among other advancers for the day, shares of Walt Disney Co jumped 6 percent to $36.70 after the media and entertainment group reported a 7 percent gain in revenues and a 30 percent jump in profit, beating expectations.

Advancers sharply outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of 6 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, nearly four stocks rose for every one that fell. ' Reuters


IMF chief says Asia not immune to euro zone woes

TOKYO (Nov 12): Asia clearly continues to drive global economic recovery, but if strains in the euro zone worsen the region will be negatively affected via trade and financial sector links, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference after a meeting with Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi, Lagarde called for strengthening international cooperation and decisive policy action to ensure strong, sustainable and balanced growth.

"We touched on ... the consequences that the euro zone crisis has and would have if it deteriorated further in the rest of the world, particularly in Asia," she said.

"No country can be immune under the present circumstances no matter how developed or how emerging or how far away it is."

Lagarde's comments followed the IMF's warning that advanced economies could fall back into recession unless policy-makers move with greater urgency to agree on policies to boost growth.

Before arriving in Tokyo, Lagarde visited Moscow and Beijing, in a bid to convince the emerging powers to chip in some of their vast foreign exchange reserves to boost bailout funds for the euro zone.

The BRICS -- the powerful emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- have been reluctant to invest directly in Europe's rescue vehicle, preferring to provide financial help to Europe via the IMF.

Asked if she had asked Japan for an additional bilateral loan, Lagarde said: "If I had, I wouldn't tell you, because it would be for him to say so ... Current resources at the Fund are adequate at the moment."

"I know equally that I can rely on my major shareholders, particularly Japan, the second largest shareholder, to be up to the task if the task was to increase resources at the IMF."

European leaders are scrambling to avert a euro zone meltdown with Italy moving to approve austerity measures amid global calls for quick action to contain the spread of the debt crisis.

Political clarity and credibility in Italy are two key factors needed in Italy which Lagarde said would have an impact on the way the Italian economy responds.

Lagarde said she briefly discussed Japan's intervention with Azumi, and that she was aware that it was done to avoid disorder and excess volatility in the currency market which "is in the spirit of communiques and statements by the G7".

"We take the view that concerted action is the most efficient way of intervening," she added.

The dollar slid to 77.10 yen, near the lowest since Japan's massive yen-selling intervention on Oct. 31, estimated at a record 7.7 trillion yen ($99 billion), raising risk of further intervention. ' Reuters


Week Ahead: For U.S. investors, it's all Greek

NEW YORK (Nov 11): Wall Street is stuck in a highly volatile range as investors hoping for a rally into the end of the year are browbeaten by Europe's unfolding crisis.

For months, investors have been enthusing about valuations, earnings and, more recently, signs of an improving economy. Those may be good reasons why stocks should rally, but even the most ardent are starting to sound a bit glum.

The political intrigue in southern Europe has flummoxed investors stateside. Papademos has replaced Papandreou. Berlusconi is, well, Berlusconi. The headlines and the subsequent volatility seem relentless.

"It literally just changes consistently each and every night," said Jeremy Zirin, chief U.S. equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management in New York.

"Earlier this week, there were worries about a potential Italian default and now we've seen government and regime change in two of the periphery nations."

Again, events in Europe over the weekend could end up shaping the start of the trading week in U.S. markets.

Italy's Senate approved a new budget law, clearing the way for approval of the package in the lower house on Saturday and the formation of an emergency government to replace that of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In Athens, former European Central Bank policy-maker Lucas Papademos was sworn in as Greek prime minister, replacing predecessor George Papandreou after days of political wrangling. He is tasked with meeting the terms of a bailout plan to avert bankruptcy.

The net result was that the S&P 500 ended up almost 1 percent on the week after a drop of nearly 4 percent on Wednesday.

That midweek plunge came after Italy's bond yields blew out to over 7 percent, raising fears that the country, which is also the world's third-largest bond market, could go bankrupt.

But with worries that the crisis could spread to other countries, investors are looking for either the European Central Bank or EU governments to commit more capital in order to backstop sovereign bond markets.

"For the markets to continue to rally, we would need to see market confidence that Italian, Spanish and French bonds are money good," Zirin said. "There is likely to be more volatility around the sovereign debt crisis until we get more capital committed to the solution."


Many investors picked up put options heading into the weekend to hedge against a potential downdraft in equities next week.

Options traders exchanged about 1.48 million contracts on the Financial Select Sector SPDR fund -- 3.6 times the average daily volume -- as puts outpaced calls by a factor of more than 13 to 1, according to Trade Alert.

Technical factors are taking on greater significance as the S&P 500 hovers at the top end of its trading range and traders watch for a break either up or down. When that happens, it could be swift if recent volatility is anything to go by.

Ari Wald, a technical analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York, said evidence is building for a move to the downside after the index failed for a second time since late October to push above its 200-day moving average at around 1,272.

"If we keep failing at this, it looks like it's confirming another lower high from the May peak," he said. "This still looks like a downtrend to me."

The 200-day moving average, a closely followed level, has emerged as a key battleground for investors this year, with successive tests to the downside over the summer eventually leading to a 13 percent cascade during five fraught trading days in August.

On the downside, Wald sees support at the 50-day moving average at around 1,200. A breach of that could take the index back to around 1,100 in early 2012, he said.

But market technicians also say positive seasonalities could be in stocks' favor.


November marks the start of the "six best months of the year" when the Dow has booked an average gain of 7.5 percent since 1950, compared with just 0.4 percent in the other half of the year, according to the Stock Trader's Almanac.

One reason cited for that seasonal lift, at least during the last few months of the year, is holiday spending.

Investors will look for more improvement in retail sales when data for October is released on Tuesday, especially after the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan report on Friday showed consumer sentiment rose to a five-month high in November.

During the last major week of earnings season, some prominent retailers are set to report results and give an outlook through the end of the year. They include Wal-Mart Stores, often seen as a barometer of U.S. consumer spending, and a niche retailer such as Abercrombie & Fitch.

"My guess is we are going to have a reasonably good consumer in the year-end," said Philip Dow, director of equity strategy at RBC Wealth Management in Minneapolis. "My target on the S&P is 1,380. I still think it could happen." ' Reuters


Friday, November 11, 2011

Dutaland: deal rescinded to avoid prolonged legal tussle

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): DUTALAND BHD [] and IOI CORPORATION BHD [], which mutually ''rescinded the sale and purchase agreement over the disputed RM830 million oil palm PLANTATION [] deal, had done so with a view not to prolong the legal''dispute''arising from the termination of the deal.

In a reply to a query from Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd on Friday, Nov 11, Dutaland said the Deed of Rescission entered by the parties on Nov 9 would avoid protracted litigation, the outcome of which can be uncertain and this may have adverse implications ''on the company.

'Moreover a prolonged''litigation would hinder any potential sales of the PROPERTIES [] in future,' it said.

Dutaland said that by entering into the Deed of Rescission, Sri Mayvin had retracted all its allegations and assertions made against Pertama Land.

It said Pertama Land had consistently maintained that Pertama Land has complied with and is not in breach of the SPA as alleged or at all by Sri Mayvin.''

'In the absence of the sale proceeds from the Proposed Disposal, the Group may obtain bank borrowings and/or internally generated funds to fund/support the items stated''in the''intended utilisation of sale proceeds (i.e. purchase of Irredeemable Convertible Bonds, settlement of debts, funding of''Kenny Heights project, etc),' said Dutaland.

To recap, IOI Corp and Dutaland on Nov 9 said they had agreed to mutually rescind the sale and purchase agreement over the disputed RM830 million oil palm plantation deal.

IOI Corp said on Wednesday that its unit Sri Mayvin Plantation Sdn Bhd and Dutaland's Pertama Land & Development Sdn Bhd had entered into a deed of rescission in a move to resolve all issues and disputes relating to the SPA that involved 11,977.91 ha (29,597.42 acres).

'With immediate effect whereupon the parties are released from all obligations and liabilities in connection with the SPA and neither party shall have any further claim against the other in respect thereto,' it said.

IOI Corp said following from the execution of the deed of rescission, OSK Trustees'' Bhd, being the stakeholder jointly appointed by the parties, will proceed to refund the deposit earlier paid by Sri Mayvin pursuant to the terms of the SPA together with all interest accrued thereon to Sri Mayvin.

On Oct 25, IOI Corp terminated its proposed acquisition of the land from Dutaland, citing the cancellation was 'due to non-compliance of certain terms and conditions'.

However, Dutaland had then said it did not accept the reasons for termination of the sales and purchase agreement and directed the stakeholder, OSK Trustees Bhd not to remit the deposit of RM83 million, which was the 10% deposit paid.

In a separate statement on Nov 9, Dutaland said that with the rescission, Sri Mayvin has retracted all its allegations and assertions made against Pertama Land as contained in Sri Mayvin's letters dated Oct 4, 20 and the 21.

"Pursuant to the deed, Sri Mayvin has further confirmed that it has not lodged and will not lodge any private caveat(s) or any encumbrances(s) over the properties," it said.

Dutaland also said its board having sought legal advice and after taking into consideration all relevant aspects of the termination of the SPA, was of the view that protracted litigation would hinder any future sales of the properties. ''

"Furthermore, the outcome of litigation can be uncertain and this may have adverse implications on the group. In the meantime, the group shall continue to manage the properties to generate positive returns," it added.


Dijaya, Ivory in RM10b Penang property venture

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): DIJAYA CORPORATION BHD [] and Ivory PROPERTIES [] Group Bhd have signed a joint venture (JV) agreement to develop mixed residential and commercial properties in Penang with a gross development value (GDV) of RM10 billion.

In a joint statement on Friday, the two companies said the development will be completed over the next eight years and would comprise of residential, shopping mall, hotel, office suites, office towers, retail spaces and an open mall with a boulevard.

CONSTRUCTION [] of the first phase is scheduled to begin next year, they said.

The signing confirmed an earlier report on Friday by The Edge Financial Daily after Dijaya Corporation and Ivory Properties had both asked for a one-day suspension in trading for their shares pending a material announcement.

Dijaya and Ivory said the land was located within Bayan Mutiara, a new development hub located in the eastern part of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (formerly known as Bayan Lepas Expressway) and in the vicinity of Sungai Nibong.

It spans 102.65 acres, of which 76.56 acres are existing land and the remaining 35 acres are to be reclaimed, they said.

Dijaya group chief executive officer Tan Sri Danny Tan said the signing was another milestone for Dijaya's investment outside of Klang Valley in addition to the Southern region.

'Our investment in Penang is an affirmation of the company's confidence in the growth potential of this region and, with Ivory as our business partner, we hope to further contribute to the economic growth in Penang,' he said.

Meanwhile, Ivory chief executive officer and chairman Datuk Low Eng Hock said Dijaya was famous for its series of lifestyle homes within a resort environment as seen in the award-winning development, Tropicana Golf & Country Resort.

'With the property company beefing up its financial muscles and market presence, this potential joint venture will add vibrancy and spur the economic growth of Penang,' he said.

Ivory had received a letter of acceptance from the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) on July 25, to purchase and develop 102.56 acres of mixed development land in Bayan Mutiara, Penang for a purchase price of RM1.07 billion.

Under the joint venture, the two public listed companies have formed Tropicana Ivory Sdn Bhd, with Ivory Properties holding a 51% stake and Dijaya holding the remaining 49%.

Bank Negara maintains OPR at 3%

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Bank Negara Malaysia's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which met on Friday, Nov 11 has maintained the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3%.

In a statement Nov 11, Bank Negara said that latest indicators suggested that the global growth momentum had moderated in recent months.

It said economic activity in the advanced economies was being weighed down by heightened market volatility and lower confidence, amid rising policy uncertainties.

Labour market conditions in several of these economies also continue to be weak, it said.

'Going forward, these conditions may persist as critical policy issues remain unresolved and pose further downside risks to global growth.

'In the Asian region, sustained domestic demand is projected to continue to support economic growth. Nevertheless, greater weakness in the external environment is expected to affect regional growth prospects,' it said.

Bank Negara said the domestic economy improved in the third quarter, due primarily to stronger domestic demand.

Export performance also improved, reflecting firm regional demand and the normalisation of trade flows from supply chain disruptions, it said.

'Looking ahead, the weaker external environment could, however, impact the overall growth prospects.

'Domestic demand will continue to be the anchor of growth, supported by private consumption and investment and reinforced by public sector spending and investment activity.'' Employment conditions are also expected to remain stable,' said the central bank.

Bank Negara said that domestic headline inflation was 3.4% in September on account of the slower increase in the transport category.

Going forward, the central bank said inflation was expected to remain stable for the rest of the year and moderate in 2012.

'Global energy prices are expected to experience some moderation while the impact of domestic demand factors on inflation is also expected to remain contained.

'High food price inflation, largely due to supply disruptions, continues to remain a concern,' it said.

Bank Negara said that in the MPC's assessment, the global economic outlook is expected to be weaker and international financial market conditions will remain highly uncertain and volatile going forward.

While the domestic economy is expected to expand, these external developments could affect the overall growth prospects of the Malaysian economy, it said.

The MPC will continue to monitor these developments and assess the risks to the outlook for domestic growth and inflation, it said.



Kimlun gets RM68m contract in Iskandar Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Kimlun Corporation Bhd has secured a contract worth RM68 million to build a service apartment in Iskandar Malaysia in Johor.

In a filing Friday, Nov 11, Kimlun said its wholly-owned subsidiary Kimlun Sdn Bhd had accepted the letter of award for the contract from Grand Action Sdn Bhd.

Kimlun said the CONSTRUCTION [] work was expected to be completed by January 2014.

The company said the project was expected to contribute positively to its earnings for the current financial year ending Dec 31, 2011 and the subsequent financial years during the contract period.

KLCI succumbs to profit taking, extends losses

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI reversed its earlier gains and slipped into negative territory on Friday, Nov 11 as some mild profit taking on select blue chips weighed on the index.

The FBM KLCI fell 3.90 points to 1,468.75, weighed by losses at select blue chips.

Gainers led losers by 425 to 310, while 282 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 2.07 billion shares valued at RM1.23 billion.

At the regional markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 0.91% higher at 19,137.17, South Korea's Kospi jumped 2.77% to 1,863.45, Taiwan's Taiex up 0.80% to 7,367.29, Japan's Nikkei gained 0.16% to 8,514.47 and the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.06% to 2,481.08, while the Singapore Straits Times Index added 0.14% to 2,790.94.

On Bursa Malaysia, DiGi and PPB fell 22 sen each to RM33.78 and RM16.62, Ya Horng down 18 sen to 42 sen, Sunchirin 14 sen to RM1.38, Uzma 13 sen to RM1.68, Petronas Dagangan 12 sen to RM16.10, Tasek and Genting 10 sen each to RM8 and RM10.58, while Benalec fell eight sen to RM1.35.

Compugates was the most actively traded counter with 79.8 million shares traded. The stock gained half a sen to 8.5 sen.

Other actives included JCY International, Takaso, iDimension, Tiger, Karambunai and Rimbunan Sawit.

Meanwhile, gainers included United PLANTATION []s, BLD Plantations, CI Holdings, Harvest Court, Manulife, Dutch Lady, BAT, TSH Resources and GAB.


KPJ to lease hospital in Seberang Perai for 10 years

KUALA LUMPUR: KPJ Healthcare is to lease a medical care facility to be built on four acre-land in Seberang Perai Tengah, Pulau Pinang under an initial ten-year agreement with and Aseania Development Sdn Bhd.

In a filing Friday, Nov 11, KPJ said that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Penang Specialist Hospital Sdn Bhd (PgSHSB) together with Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Pulau Pinang (PERDA) and Aseania had entered into a design, build, and lease (DBL) agreement to construct the medical care facility.

KPJ said that in 1994, PERDA had granted Aseania the right to develop a township on 456.01 acres of land in Seberang Perai.

Aseania had earmarked 9.76 acres for the development of healthcare facilities exclusively for PgSHSB, of which four acres were allocated for the hospital.''

Under the DBL agreement, Aseania will construct the hospital according to PgSHSB's specifications and upon completion, PgSHSB wil lease the hospital from Aseania for 10 years.

KPJ said that under the agreement, it had the option to renew the lease for a further ten-year period.

S&P: A-P consumers still buying despite recession worries

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Credit quality among retail companies in the Asia-Pacific region is likely to be stable overall for at least the first half of 2012, despite variations in the growth prospects of different markets and growing concerns about a global economic slowdown, according to Standard & Poor's Rating Services.

In report entitled "Consumers Are Still Opening Their Wallets For Asia-Pacific Retailers Despite Recession Worries' released on Nov 11, S&P said solid consumer spending would continue to support the performance of retail companies in the region, especially in China, Korea, and Indonesia.

'While consumers in Australia and Japan are somewhat more cautious, we do not believe they are particularly pessimistic,' it said.

Overall, continued relatively solid consumer demand had made retailers in the Asia-Pacific region keen to invest in new stores and pursue mergers and acquisitions (M&A), said S&P.

'As such, we expect corporate investment policies, and industrywide consolidation in some countries, to play a key role in our credit analysis of retailers in the region.

'Furthermore, we believe growing numbers of middle-income earners, solid consumption, and relatively high growth prospects in most markets will mitigate the impact of a potential global slowdown,' it said.

S&P said that growth in China's retail sector continued to be solid despite market fragmentation and intense competition from local and foreign peers.

'Among our other findings, we consider online retailing an attractive tool for brick-and-mortar retailers but expect that low barriers to entry and intense competition will make it hard for most to generate new or stronger earnings, or significantly improve their credit profiles, from online sales in the next one to two years,' it said.

KPJ buys land for RM23.76m in Klang to build specialist hospital

KUALA LUMPUR: KPJ HEALTHCARE BHD [] is acquiring four plots of land in the district of Klang, Selangor for RM23.76 million cash as part of its plans to build a specialist hospital.

In a filing Friday, Nov 11, KPJ said it had entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Sazean Development Sdn Bhd to acquire the lands with an aggregate area of 1.84ha.

KPJ said the four plots of land were situated within a mixed development undertaken by
Sazean known as 'Sazean Business Park', and that Sazean would make an application to convert the category of the lands it was buying from agricultural to building/commercial.

KPJ said the development cost of the lands was within RM110 million to RM120 million while the CONSTRUCTION [] cost of the hospital was estimated at RM80 million.

It said the costs were expected to be financed via internally generated funds.

'The propose acquisition is in line with KPJ Group's objective to expand its network of hospitals to locations where private healthcare is in demand, enlarge the customer base and further establish itself as a key service provider in Malaysia,' it said.

KLCI remains in positive territory but pares down gains at mid-day

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI remained in positive territory at the mid-day break on Friday, Nov 11 but pared down some of its gains on signs of mild profit taking ahead of the weekend.

The FBM KLCI was up 3.75 points to 1,476.40 at 12.30pm. The index had earlier risen to its intra-morning high of 1,478.33.

Gainers led losers 411 to 203, while 262 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.27 billion shares valued at RM583.71 million.

The ringgit fell 0.02% to 3.1480 versus the US dollar; crude palm oil futures for the third month delivery fell RM11 per tonne to RM3,112, crude oil added 38 cents per barrel to USD98.16 while gold rose US$9.17 an ounce US$1,767.57.

At the regional markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.14% to 19,179.78, South Korea's Kospi jumped 2.41% to 1,856.96, Taiwan's Taiex was up 0.78% to 7,365.49, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.60% to 2,494.41, Japan's Nikkei gained 0.54% to 8,546.40 and Singapore's Straits Times Index edged up 0.15% to 2,790.95.

On Bursa Malaysia, BAT was the top gainer this morning and rose 50 sen to RM46; United PLANTATION []s gained 40 sen to RM19, DiGi 34 sen to RM34.34, CI Holdings 31 sen to RM5.26, Asas 19 sen to RM1.19, TSH Resources 17 sen to RM3.45, KLK 16 sen to RM20.98, Top Glove 14 sen to RM4.44 and CBIP 11 sen to RM3.79.

Takaso was the most actively traded counter with 44.33 million shares done. The stock gained four sen to 22.5 sen.

Other actives included Compugates, JCY, iDimension, DBE Gurney, Rimbunan Sawit and IRCB.

Decliners included Ya Horng, Sunchirin, Tong Herr, Tasek, Petronas Dagangan, Ta Ann, Boustead and Teck Guan.

Brent steady above $113; eyes euro zone debt

SINGAPORE (Nov 11): Brent crude was steady above $113 a barrel on Friday, after sharp gains in the previous session, as lingering concerns over Europe's debt crisis prompted investors to stay cautious.

Brent crude lost 16 cents a barrel to $113.55 by 0312 GMT, after settling Thursday up $1.40 at $113.71. U.S. crude traded 36 cents higher at $98.14 a barrel, after closing up $2.04 at $97.98, a 15-week high of $97.98.

Oil prices rebounded on Thursday on progress in Italy's efforts to solve its debt problems, but the lack of a concrete plan to tackle the crisis has capped gains in riskier assets, analysts said.

"We had some good news yesterday from Italy on their bond sale, but the oil market is trading from headline to headline," said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney. "Right now there's not enough to give investors a clear direction for prices."

Asian shares rebounded modestly and the euro clung to tentative gains after debt-ladened Italy was able to fund itself at a bond auction.

The prospect of Italy buckling under its 2 trillion euro debt load has raised fears over Europe's 2-year-old crisis to a new level, because the euro zone's bailout fund is not big enough to rescue the bloc's third largest economy.

Positive economic data out of the United States also supported prices, as new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to their lowest level since early April, and the trade deficit unexpectedly shrank in September.

Brent is poised to end the week flat, after two straight weeks of gains, while U.S. crude is headed for a 3.6 percent weekly rise, its sixth consecutive gain.

Technical charts show Brent oil is expected to revisit the previous trading session's low of $111.30, while U.S. oil faces strong resistance at $98.91 per barrel that may end a rally that started from the October low of $74.95, Reuters market analyst Wang Tao said.


Market participants continue to monitor developments in the Middle East and North Africa for signs of changes to global crude supply.

The European Union may impose new sanctions against Iran within weeks, after a U.N. agency said Tehran had worked to design nuclear bombs, EU diplomats said. [ID: nL5E7MA1UQ]

In Libya, acting prime minister Ali Tarhouni said oil output will easily exceed 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) by January and return to prewar levels by about June.

Despite the market's focus on macroeconomic issues, oil fundamentals remain firm, underpinned by tight supplies and the prospect for further disruption to output, analysts said.

"Physical oil supplies have tightened, and geopolitical risks in the Middle East, particularly concerning Iran's nuclear program, have escalated," analysts at Barclays Capital said in a research note.

On the demand side, global oil consumption will be a bit lower than expected this year and next as economic slowdown and high prices curb consumption but the oil market is strong and supply remains tight, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday. ' Reuters


Petronas, Shell Malaysia ink HOAs for new oil recovery, PSC

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Shell Malaysia have signed heads of agreement (HOA) for new enhanced oil recovery projects offshore Sabah and Sarawak.

In a statement on its website Nov 11, Shell Malaysia said the HOA would see staged work activities and new investments from Shell and its joint venture partner Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB), to extend the life and increase the recovery factor of the Baram Delta (BDO) and North Sabah''fields.

The improvement in the recovery efficiency of the oil fields may result in an additional 90,000 to 100,000 barrels per day equivalent (kboe/d) of oil production and extend the field life to beyond 2040.

Shell chief executive officer Peter Voser said the new agreement confirmed Shell's commitment to continue investing in Malaysia and its position as a heartland for Shell.

'The agreement also provides an opportunity to work together with Petronas on building local knowledge and capabilities in enhanced oil recovery,' said Voser.

Shell Malaysia chairman Anuar Taib said this development would positively impact Malaysia's oil reserves and benefit the country as a whole, adding further value to the country's upstream oil and gas industry.

'Shell, as a long term partner in Malaysia's progress, is pleased to be able to continue contributing towards the national aspiration to become a high-income economy,' said Anuar.

Shell said the new agreement would build upon the existing BDO and North Sabah production sharing contracts, located offshore Sarawak and Sabah, respectively.

Petronas Carigali holds a 60% equity interest in the BDO production sharing contract (expiry 2018) and is operator while Shell holds the remaining 40% interest.

The North Sabah PSC (expiry 2019) is Shell operated with each company holding an equal 50% equity interest.

Shell said the projected increase in the average recovery factor in the BDO and North Sabah fields will see a rise from 36% to 50%, adding significant value to the upstream industry in Malaysia sustainably over the coming decades.

The TECHNOLOGY [] employed in the North Sabah fields could potentially lead to the first field-scale offshore Chemical EOR in the world.

To date, Shell has participating interests in 14 PSCs in various offshore blocks in Sarawak and Sabah.

KLCI rebounds but gains limited

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): The FBM KLCI rebounded on Friday, Nov 11 in line with key regional markets, albeit gains remained limited as investors wary of the still uncertain global economic outlook treaded carefully.

At mid-morning, the FBM KLCI added 5.27 points to 1,477.92.

Gainers led losers by 302 to 116, while 214 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 644.02 million shares valued at RM213.32 million.

At the regional markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.92% to 19,138.73, Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.06% to 8,506.28, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.37% to 2,488.75, Taiwan's Taiex up 0.27% to 7,328.47, South Korea's Kospi added 1.2% to 1,834.99 and Singapore's Straits Times Index gained 0.22% to 2,793.06.

Maybank Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research and chief chartist Lee Cheng Hooi in a note to clients on Nov 11 said that due to the US markets' weak rebound tone last night, there could be an initial rose for the local index.

Some later pre-weekend profit taking activities may trim the local market's rise in the afternoon session, he said.

Lee said the Asian markets would still gyrate wildly due to the weak rebound tone for the overnight American markets.

'As such, we advise clients to still trade with a short-term time frame locally.

'It is unwise to join the recent penny stock activity (eg Harvest Court with so many gap-ups) as these stocks do not have any fundamentals and the companies are loss making. Take profits here swiftly,' he said.

Among the gainers on Bursa Malaysia, DiGi rose 80 sen to RM34.80, BAT 44 sen to RM45.94, United PLANTATION []s 40 sen to RM18, CI Holdings 23 sen to RM5.18, Glenealy 15 sen to RM5.99, HLFG 14 sen to RM11.88. Rimbunan Sawit 11.5 sen to 95.5 sen, TSH Resources 10 sen to RM3.38, while Tien Wah and Kretam added seven sen each to RM1.70 and RM2.19.

iDimension Consolidated Bhd, which made its debut on the ACE Market today, was among the most actively traded counters. The stock rose three sen to 41 sen with 27.6 million shares traded.

Other actives included Compugates, Takaso, DBE Gurney, Rimbunan Sawit, JCY International and Tiger.

Decliners included Sunchirin, Ta Ann, Boustead, Weida, Sarawak Oil Palms, Asas and Harvest Court.


OSK Research Neutral on plantations, CPO average RM2,700 in 2012

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): OSK Research continues to have a Neutral stance on the sector with average crude palm oil (CPO) price assumption of RM2,700 for CY12.

It said on Friday, it believes investors should make use of the price lull to accumulate good growth stocks, which tend to be illiquid but are good to have as they provided the alpha.

'These stocks should have less earnings reduction as production growth will help to mitigate the effects of lower price,' it said.

OSK Research said inventory numbers continued to stay above the 2.0 million tonne-level but is starting to ease with shipment rising 19.0% month-on-month while production only grew by 2.1%.

'We believe the stockpile level will continue to ease in the coming months as we believe the upcoming low season will be one with very weak output,' it said.

The research house said it believed palm oil price will enter a very dull phase in the first two'' to three quarters next year.

'This is because palm oil price appears to have bottomed out but yet due to ample supply and unexciting demand growth, prices have limited upside.

'After this lull period, we could see the start of a new upcycle, which will be driven by a potential peak in Indonesia's palm oil production in the not too distant future. A peak in palm oil supply will also mean that global edible oil supply also peaks. This will have very serious implication for edible oil price overall,' OSK Research said.

CIMB Research has technical buy on DPS

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): CIMB Equities Research has a technical buy on DPS RESOURCES BHD [] at 12.5 sen at which it is trading at a price-to-book value of 12.5 sen.

It said on Friday DPS saw a surge in trading volume on Thursday, taking prices further away from its 200-day SMA. With the pick up in volume, it expects prices to climb further in the coming days.

'The 14 sen to 14.5 sen resistance is likely to be tested soon. A breakout above the 14.5 sen resistance on strong volume would likely send prices shooting higher, targeting the 17 sen mark,' it said.

CIMB Research said the technical landscape is improving with its MACD doing a rollover and its RSI had also hooked upwards once more.

'And since its RSI is not yet overbought, there is still room on the upside. The stock is a buy now with a stop placed below yesterday's low of 10.5 sen,' it said.

CIMB Research has technical sell on Bursa Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): CIMB Equities Research has a technical sell on Bursa Malaysia at RM6.59, at which it is trading at a FY12 price-to-earnings of 23.5 times and price-to-book value of 4.2 times.

It said on Friday Bursa's rebound has been in a jagged manner and is now testing the underside of the base channel resistance. The uptrend may continue a tad further as prices are still within the short term uptrend channel.

'A break below RM6.45 would likely confirm that the uptrend is over. We expect prices to test the moving averages at RM6.36 and RM6.00 next.

'With both its MACD and RSI flattening out, it may not be wise to chase this stock. Further rally should be viewed as a chance to sell with the overhead resistance at RM6.82 and RM7.00-RM7.05,' CIMB Research said.

AmResearch maintains Buy on Benalec, FV RM2.85

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): AmResearch is maintaining its Buy call on Benalec Holdings and raised its fair value from RM2.22 a share to RM2.85 a share.

It said on Friday the higher fair value was based on its revised sum-of-parts value under its base case assumption for its new ventures in Johor.

On Thursday, Benalec has announced that it has secured the rights to reclaim and own two large tracts of prime seafront land ' at Tg.Piai (3,485 acres) and Pengerang (1,760 acres), on the southern tip of Johor.

'The group is leveraging on its core competencies in marine CONSTRUCTION [] to create strategically-located land with water depth of more than 15 metres for the oil & gas and maritime industries,' it said.

AmResearch said these transformational deals ' leveraging on highly-industrialised developments ' are indeed very significant over the next 10 to 15 years.

iDimension Consolidated starts off on positive note

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): iDimension Consolidated Bhd, which made its debut on the ACE Market on Friday, rose in active trade.

At 9.05am, the stock added seven sen to 45 sen with 8.75 million shares done.

iDimension is a one-stop supplier of manufacturing software solutions.

At an offer price of 38 sen, the company aimed to raise RM14.53 million via a public issue of 38.23 million new shares of 10 sen each.

It reported revenue of RM14.95 million in 2010 with a profit after tax of RM8.24 million.

DRB-Hicom up in early trade

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11): DRB-HICOM BHD [] shares advanced in early trade on Friday, Nov 11 after CIMB Research initiated coverage on the stock with an Outperform rating and target price of RM3.95 based on 10% RNAV discount.

CIMB Research in'' a note Nov 11 said a series of catalysts in rapid succession ' VW agreement, armoured vehicle contract, POS Malaysia acquisition ' would transform DRB-Hicom into a strategic conglomerate, unlocking value and earnings growth on multiple levels.

At 9.10am, DRB-Hicom added 10 sen to RM2.15 with 339,700 shares traded.

'All its key businesses (autos, concession, finance, property) are at an earnings inflection point.

'The stock is on our high conviction list as it is trading at 8x CY13 P/E and below its RM2.60 NTA,' said CIMB Research.

Nikkei edges up after sharp sell-off

TOKYO (Nov 11): The Nikkei share average rose on Friday, regaining some ground lost in the previous session's sharp sell-off, but worries about the situation in Europe will likely keep gains in check.

The Nikkei average rose 0.5 percent to 8,542.59, while the broader Topix index added 0.2 percent to 731.61. ' Reuters


Seoul shares open higher; Hynix climbs on SK Tel bid

SEOUL(Nov 11): Seoul shares opened up on Friday, tracking a Wall Street rebound, with Hynix Semiconductor gaining ground after SK Telecom submitted a final bid for the chipmaker.

Top shareholders of Hynix Semiconductor will decide on Friday whether to pick sole bidder SK Telecom as the preferred bidder for the chipmaker, raising hopes that the long-delayed sale may finally succeed.

Shares in Hynix rose 4 percent, while SK Telecom shares were down 2.1 percent.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) climbed 1.16 percent at 1,834.22 points as of 0004 GMT. ' Reuters


Asian shares stage modest rebound, euro steady

SINGAPORE (Nov 11): Asian shares rebounded modestly on Friday and the euro clung to tentative gains, after brighter corporate news lifted U.S. stocks and debt-ladened Italy was able to fund itself at a bond auction.

But investors remained cautious amid a European debt crisis that appeared no closer to resolution, keeping a lid on equity gains and pushing other riskier assets such a commodities lower.

Tokyo's Nikkei share average and MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan both rose around 0.5 percent, clawing back some of the losses from a sharp sell-off in the previous session.

U.S. stocks had risen nearly 1 percent on Thursday, after drugmaker Merck cheered investors by raising its dividend and network equipment maker Cisco Systems reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations.

Italy, the latest euro zone nation to find itself in the bond market's crosshairs, moved closer to a national unity government on Thursday, while its treasury managed to sell 1-year bills at yields of less than 7 percent -- the threshold that investors believe renders its debt burden unsustainable.

The prospect of Italy buckling under its 2 trillion euro debt load has raised fears over Europe's 2-year-old crisis to a new level, because the euro zone's bailout fund (EFSF) is not big enough to rescue the bloc's third largest economy.

"Italy's funding vulnerability presents a serious risk to the global financial system and forces euro zone leaders to grapple with a lose/lose dilemma," wrote RBS macro credit analysts Edward Marrinan and Edward Young in a note.

"Leave one of the euro area's largest economies at the mercy of the funding markets or deploy the under-resourced EFSF in an effort to stabilize the country's borrowing costs."

The euro traded around $1.3610, steady on the day and up from Thursday's trough at $1.3481. The dollar eased 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies.

Commodities markets were subdued, with U.S. crude oil easing 0.3 percent to around $97.53 a barrel and gold dipping a similar percentage to about $1,754 an ounce. ' Reuters


Wall Street rebounds as corporate news offsets Italy

NEW YORK (Nov 10): Stocks bounced back on Thursday from the previous session's steep losses as investors latched onto positive corporate and economic news, in the absence of a clear worsening in Europe's debt crisis.

Still, trading was volatile and volumes were thin as turmoil in Europe's bond markets kept alive fears that the crisis could still engulf Italy.

A brighter picture came from U.S. companies. Merck raised its dividend and Cisco reported strong earnings, reinforcing the view that corporate America is showing strength even as problems in Europe weigh on investors' minds.

Italy paid sharply higher rates for its one-year borrowing, but not as much as some had feared. French bond yields surged amid worries over the country's credit rating.

Standard & Poor's later blamed a technical error for the distribution of a message suggesting it had downgraded France's credit rating. S&P said that was not the case and began an investigation of the matter.

"Our domestic market is solid and showing signs of improvement, but we're not strong enough to ignore what's going on in Europe," said Randy Frederick, director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

"Until we see a viable plan to stabilize Europe, we're going to be hinging on an hourly basis on what's coming out of there. I don't see this going away any time soon."

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 112.92 points, or 0.96 percent, at 11,893.86. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 10.60 points, or 0.86 percent, at 1,239.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 3.50 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,625.15.

Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) gained 3.5 percent to $34.97 after the drugmaker raised its quarterly dividend by 11 percent, its first increase since 2004. The move helped lift the S&P healthcare index .GSPA 1.4 percent.

Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) jumped 5.7 percent to $18.61 and was the Dow's biggest gainer after the network equipment maker's earnings beat estimates and it forecast revenue and profit above expectations.

The CBOE Volatility index .VIX fell 9.2 percent, giving back some of the gains it posted on Wednesday, its biggest day since mid-August. The VIX is up 9 percent so far this week.

U.S. crude oil gained 2.1 percent, helping to lift energy shares. The S&P energy group .GSPE rose 1.8 percent and led all sectors, while industrials .GSPI added 1.1 percent and materials .GSPM was up 0.9 percent.

Oil and gas producer Hess Corp (HES.N) added 4 percent to $63.85, while United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) rose 1.3 percent to $77.47. 3M Co (MMM.N) added 1.7 percent to $80.32.

"These are the names people are gravitating to, because if a recovery comes out of Europe, these industries will be in high demand," said Michael Matousek, senior trader at U.S. Global Investors Inc, which manages about $3 billion in San Antonio.

"However there's still a lot of volatility, and if we drop back under 1,225 on the S&P we'll know there's not a lot of buying power out there."

After the market closed, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) rose 2.9 percent to $35.65 in extended trading after reporting fourth-quarter revenue that beat expectations.

Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N) sank 4.1 percent to $47.61 after the retailer didn't raise the upper end of its full-year profit forecast.

The S&P 500 fell 3.7 percent on Wednesday, its worst daily percentage drop since August 18. In October, the index recorded its best monthly performance in 20 years on optimism European leaders were taking control of the debt crisis.

Thursday's economic data showed new U.S. weekly jobless claims declined to the lowest level since April, while the trade deficit unexpectedly shrank in September to its narrowest level since December.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc (GMCR.O) pressured the Nasdaq, sliding 39 percent to $40.89 after its quarterly revenues came in less than expected.

Italy paid its highest yield in 14 years to sell 12-month debt in an auction. Worries remained its borrowing costs were unsustainable.

In Greece, former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos was appointed to head the country's new crisis coalition.

Volume was about 7.3 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, below last year's daily average of 8.47 billion.

More than two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, while on the Nasdaq, 60 percent of stocks closed higher. - Reuters

Bernanke keeps focus on jobs, warns on Europe

FORT BLESS, Texas (Nov 10): Defending the Federal Reserve on the turf of his harshest critics, central bank chief Ben Bernanke on Thursday said the Fed was "intently" focused on lowering unemployment and warned that strains from Europe could trigger global economic shocks.

"For a lot of people, I know, it doesn't feel like the recession ever ended," Bernanke said at a town hall-style forum at an Army base outside of the Texas border town of El Paso.

"I'm not a believer in the Old Testament theory of business cycles. I think that if we can help people, we need to help people."

The Fed, and Bernanke in particular, has drawn fire from conservatives fearful the central bank's aggressive easing of monetary policy could debase the U.S. dollar and send inflation soaring.

Two of the harshest critics are Texans and Republican presidential candidates: Governor Rick Perry and Representative Ron Paul.

Paul authored a book titled "End the Fed," while Perry has equated Fed policy with treason and suggested Texans might treat Bernanke "pretty ugly" if he were to visit.

Bernanke, who met troops returning from Iraq at 2:45 a.m., used the military backdrop to defend the central bank's aggressive policies and rebut charges it was recklessly spending government money.

Several soldiers asked how simmering euro zone sovereign debt turmoil might affect the U.S. economy, and Bernanke told them it was important European leaders contain the crisis, which some see as the main risk to the U.S. recovery.

"Although the Fed would obviously do all that we could to maintain stability and to keep monetary policy as easy as necessary to try to minimize the damage, I don't think we would be able to escape the consequences of a blow-up in Europe," he told his audience of 175 military personnel and family members.


Bernanke, who has called the high level of long-term unemployment in the United States a national crisis, made clear that policymakers were still focused on lowering the 9 percent jobless rate, but he warned it will take time to bring it to more normal levels.

"We at the Federal Reserve have been focusing intently on supporting job creation. Supporting job creation is half of our marching orders, so to speak," he said.

The Fed's other mandate is to keep inflation in check. Bernanke said inflation should moderate and remain close to the Fed's preferred level of 2 percent or a bit less for the foreseeable future.

The central bank cut benchmark borrowing costs close to zero in December 2008 and has bought more than $2.3 trillion in bonds to try to spur a more vigorous recovery.

Bernanke, whose remarks were punctuated on occasion by the fussing and chattering of young children, defended the Fed's unconventional bond-buying.

"It is important to understand that this type of activity isn't the same as government spending," he said, explaining that the central bank would either sell the securities back into the markets or hold them to maturity. He also pointed out that the Fed's portfolio earnings helped reduce the federal budget gap.

He also dismissed Paul's views on abolishing the central bank. "The Federal Reserve is not perfect ... but at this point, if you look around the world, you see no alternative."

Bernanke, who looked relaxed as he fielded questions from an audience largely dressed in olive camouflage fatigues, came into office in 2006, when George W. Bush was president, vowing to throw more light on the operations of the long-secretive central bank. Many analysts think he accelerated his efforts in an attempt to insulate the Fed from popular anger.

While Republicans have warned about inflation, Democrats have decried bailouts for banks during the financial crisis.

Bernanke's first town hall was in 2009 as bailout anger was reaching a crescendo. Thursday's event was only his second such meeting.

Army Major Rob Steffel said the visit showed a willingness to meet criticism head on. "He's doing this because he wants to reach out and answer questions," Steffel said. "There are a lot of fallacies out there, and I think he's trying to dispel rumors and give people confidence in the system and the direction the economy's going."

Asked by Fox Business if he were campaigning for something as he greeted soldiers from Iraq arriving on the tarmac, Bernanke replied: "Absolutely not. I just want to talk to the troops." - Reuters

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bursa Malaysia's trading volume surges to 2.6b

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Heavy trading of penny stocks pushed the overall volume on Bursa Malaysia to multi-months high of 2.64 billion units on Thursday as traders switched in and out of stocks which had been under the radar screen of investors for months.

At the close, the FBM KLCI fell 16.99 points or 1.14% to 1,472.65. Turnover was 2.64 billion shares valued at RM1.46 billion. There were 227 gainers, 568 losers and 212 stocks unchanged.

Other key regional markets fared worse, with Hong Kong shares down more than 5%, wiping out almost a week's gains, as Europe's escalating debt crisis and weak results from the likes of HSBC Holdings sent investors rushing for the exits, Reuters reported.

Financials bore the brunt of the sell-off, with Chinese banks under additional pressure after Goldman Sachs' sold parts of its stake in top lender Industrial & Commercial Bank of China .

The Hong Kong benchmark index ended 5.3% lower or down 1,050.54 points to 18,963.89, while the Shanghai Composite fell 1.8% to 2,480. The Nikkei 225 lost 2.91% to 8,500.80, South Korea's Kospi 4.94% to 1,813.25 and Singapore's Straits Times Index 2.51% lower at 2,786.90.

At Bursa Malaysia, Genting fell 32 sen to RM10.68, dragging the KLCI down 2.74 points while IOI lost 12 sen to RM5.05, pushing the index down 1.78 points.

Nestle and BAT fell 50 sen each to RM49 and RM46.10 while KLK and Genting lost 32 sen each to Rm20.82 and RM10.68. PPB declined 30 sen to RM16.84, United PLANTATION []s 28 sen to RM17.60.

MISC fell 17 sen to RM6.78, Tenaga 13 sen to RM5.79 and CIMB 10 sen to RM7.26 while Petronas Chemicals shed nine sen to RM6.39 and Sime six sen to RM8.86.

Among the penny stocks, Patimas rose two sen to 7.5 sen with 106.91 million shares done in the absence of any corporate developments. Sumatec added 5.5 sen to 19.5 sen and the warrants 5.5 sen to 14 sen while SAAG edged up five sen to eight sen.

Dijaya, Ivory Properties voluntarily suspended from Friday

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Trading in the securities of DIJAYA CORPORATION BHD [] and Ivory PROPERTIES [] Bhd will be suspended with effect from Friday.

The property companies said in separate statements to Bursa Malaysia on Thursday that the request for the suspension was pending a material announcement.

KUB secures additional RM11.7m Telekom contract

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): KUB MALAYSIA BHD []'s unit has accepted an additional contract from TELEKOM MALAYSIA BHD [] for the supply and delivery of the residential gateway system of RM11.78 million.

It said the additional contract increased the total amount of the TM contract to RM34.93 million.

'The additional contract tenure is for a period of one year,' KUB said, adding this would'' contribute positively to the group's earnings and earnings per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2011.

KUB said there are minimal risks as the additional contract is based on current and immediate requirement of TM for the supply and delivery of the residential gateway.

Benalec gets Johor govt reclamation projects

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Benalec Holdings Bhd has secured the go-ahead from the Johor government to undertake two reclamation projects along the state's coastline.

The company told Bursa Malaysia on Thursday the first reclamation project would be at the coast of Pengerang measuring 1,760 acres and the second project of the coast of Tanjung Piai measuring 3,485 acres.

It said its sub-subsidiaries Spektrum Budi Sdn Bhd and Spektrum Kukuh Sdn Bhd had'' received approval letters from Johor state economic planning unit on the proposed projects.

'The projects will be undertaken to facilitate the development of the petroleum and petrochemical hubs and maritime industrial parks situated at the coasts of Pengerang and Tanjung Piai,' it said.

IBM to invest RM1 bln over next 5 yrs in Cyberjaya

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): IBM will be investing RM1 billion over the next five years to develop a new Global Delivery Centre in Cyberjaya, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said on Thursday the centre is expected to create 3,000 skilled jobs.

He also said Toshiba has selected Malaysia as its global supply chain hub, regional full turnkey and R&D centre for its transmission and distribution equipment to Southeast Asia market.

Toshiba is expected to invest RM268 million and this would contribute RM304.8 million in gross national income, creating 668 jobs by 2017.

Najib announced the investments at the ninth Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) progress.

The Prime Minister announced 13 projects, nine new and four recapped, with a total investment value of RM5.85 billion, projected GNI of RM6.68 billion and creating an estimated 16,902 jobs.

"With these new projects, the ETP has recorded RM177.1 billion in committed investment, RM237.23 billion in projected GNI and 389,263 potential new jobs," said Najib.

Other projects that were announced was a collaboration between Telekom Malaysia and Akamai Technologies in building Akamai's only Netstorage facilities in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan). Netstorage is a secure, outsourced service that reduces costs and hassle associated with content storage.

Eversendai posts net profit RM26.4m for 3Q, order book RM1b

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Eversendai Corporation Bhd posted net profit of RM26.44 million in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2011 and was upbeat about the prospects, armed with a order book of more than RM1 billion.

It said on Thursday that revenue was RM254.41 million while earnings per share were 4.13 sen. For the nine-months ended Sept 30, its earnings were RM83.03 million on the back of RM720.41 million in revenue.

With the diverse and strong order book, the group was strategically positioned to perform well in FY 2011 and going forward, it said.

Eversendai added the wide geographical spread, number of projects and large client base of the current order book minimises the risk profile of the group substantially as it is not dependent solely on any specific sector and or client.

The company said 88.5% of the group's revenue was from its Middle East operations in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The current major projects in the Middle East included the New Doha International Airport and Doha Convention Center & Tower in Qatar, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Center (KAPSARC) and CMA Towers in Saudi Arabia.

The group's India and Malaysia operations contributed 5.0% and 6.5% respectively to the group revenue.

'The current profit for the financial period was arrived at after expensing RM51.18 million of operating and administration expenses and RM14.76 million of finance cost. Total expenditure for the financial period was mainly from staff related expenses and lease rental of RM20.42 million and RM7.67 million respectively,' it said.


CI Holdings to reward shareholders with RM724m or RM5.10 per share

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): C.I. HOLDINGS BHD [] is increasing the cash distribution to shareholders to RM724.2 million or RM5.10 per share from the initial plan to distribute at least RM568 million or RM4 per share.

It said on Thursday the increase in the cash distribution would be implemented via the declaration of a special dividend payment and a proposed capital repayment via a reduction of the issued and paid-up share capital.

On July 21, the CIH had entered into a conditional share sale agreement with Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. to dispose of its entire equity interest in Permanis Sdn Bhd'' to Asahi for a total cash consideration of RM820 million. Following the disposal, CIH said it would undertake a cash distribution.

On Thursday, CIH proposed to declare a special cash dividend payment of RM653.2 million on the basis of RM4.60 for each CIH Share held.

The proposed capital repayment of RM71 million to the shareholders on the basis of 50 sen for each share held via a reduction of the issued and paid-up share capital.'' The par value of CIH share will be reduced from RM1 to 50 sen per share. The total number of shares in issue will remain unchanged at 142 million ordinary shares.

'The special dividend shall be paid out of the cash proceeds to be received by the company from the disposal. The board believes that this is an opportune time for CIH to reward its shareholders for their continuous support and investment in the company.

'The special dividend is not subject to any approval from shareholders or regulators and is expected to be paid to entitled shareholders by the end of 2011,' it said.

AirAsia X waiting on markets for IPO, won't pull it

TAIPEI (Nov 10):'' Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia X wants to see an improvement in the economic climate and markets before its planned public share offering, but there is no possibility it will scrap the plan, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Azran Osman-Rani told a media presentation in Taipei that it would carry on preparing for the share offer, but would want to see an end to market uncertainty first.

"We're still going ahead and doing all the work that needs to be done," he said.

"When you actually pull the trigger and file and go to market, a lot of that depends on the state of global equity markets and right now there's just so much uncertainty."

AirAsia X, the longhaul low-cost arm of Malaysia's AirAsia , said in October that it would make an initial public offering of shares in 2012. It has not given the size of the planned IPO.

"How many companies are doing an IPO right now? Forget about AirAsia X, forget about the airline industry, just across the board," Azran said.

"We'd like to see some success stories of IPOs first to prove that investors are coming back into equities again," he said.

AirAsia X has 11 aircraft and flies to destinations including Tokyo, London and Melbourne from its base in Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia owns 16 percent in AirAsia X, while billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group holds 10 percent and Japan's Orix Corp has 11 percent.

AirAsia X operates in a crowded Asian low-cost carrier scene, with many of the region's top airlines launching cheap offshoots to boost.

Low-cost carriers accounted for 16 percent of the market in terms of seats within Asia Pacific last year, up from 6 percent in 2005, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, a market intelligence provider

Their market share is set to rise 2 percentage points annually to about 26 percent in 2015, it said.

Boeing Co said in its latest market update this month that overall air travel in the Asia region will grow at an annual rate of 6.6 percent to 2030. - Reuters

MRCB to build affordable homes for medium-income group

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): MALAYSIAN RESOURCES CORP []oration Bhd (MRCB) plans to build affordable houses in one of its projects to serve the medium-income
populace, its chief executive officer Datuk Mohamed Razeek Hussain said on Thursday.

He said his property development and investment company supported the government's Projek Perumahan Rumah 1Malaysia as it was an excellent way to help the people who have not achieved the requisite income level to buy high-value PROPERTIES [].

"We are supportive of the housing scheme and plan to include such houses in one of our projects soon. We hope to get approval and assistance from the
government," he told reporters after the company's corporate social responsibility event themed "Promoting Intelligence, Nurturing Talent,
Advocating Responsibility" here.

On another note, Mohamed Razeek said the group had done the soft launch for its two blocks of condominiums at Kuala Lumpur Sentral. Known as "The Sentral Residences", the project received good public response.

"We've almost sold all the units on the first block and when we opened the second block (for booking), it was a brisk sale," he added. - Bernama

Interest in IPO market remains strong, says Bursa Malaysia CEO

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Interest in initial public offering (IPO) market remains strong, reflecting the economic fundamentals which are still resilient, says Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer, Datuk Tajuddin Atan.

Tajudin said interest in the IPO market was there but it would depend on timing.

"The index is holding up very well despite the volatility. "When the market comes back they will rebound well," he told reporters on
the sidelines of the fifth International Islamic Capital Market Forum here on Thursday.

He said the listing of big companies like Petronas Chemicals and Felda Global Ventures, which would be listed by middle of next year, would augur well
for the capital market to attract investors both domestic and abroad.

"They (foreign investors) look at big companies as a benchmark for them to come in (the local stock market)," he said.

Tajuddin said investors were watching developments in Europe and the US as they wanted confidence, while on the other hand, the economy's fundamentals were also important. - Bernama

IOI Corp group finance director retires

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): IOI CORPORATION BHD []'s group finance director Rupert Koh Hock Joo retired with effect from Nov 7.

The PLANTATION [] group said on Thursday, the group financial controller would undertake the role and responsibilities of the group finance director.

IOI Corp said this would be the interim measure pending the appointment of a new group finance director.

OSK Investment Bank resigns as Hirotako independent adviser

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10):'' OSK Investment Bank Bhd has resigned as independent adviser to HIROTAKO HOLDINGS BHD [] over the conditional take-over offer by MBM RESOURCES BHD [].

Hirotako said on Thursday that OSK had resigned in relation to the offer on Wednesday as it had acted as the adviser for a recent corporate exercise.

MBM Resources had offered to 97 per share and 5.0 sen per warrant to acquire the Hirotako stake in a'' RM412.5 million deal as it sought to expand its automotive manufacturing division.

SC reviewing all trading data on MAS-AirAsia swap

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10):'' The Securites Commission (SC) is reviewing all the trading data on the swap deal between state investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Tune Air Sdn Bhd of shares in MALAYSIAN AIRLINE SYSTEM BHD [] (MAS) and AIRASIA BHD [].

"We are reviewing all the trading data and we will make a decision upon our review and determination of our findings," its chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar
told reporters after her keynote address at the fifth International Islamic Capital Market Forum, here on Thursday.

She, however, said there was no time frame for the investigation.

Last week, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin told the Dewan Rakyat that SC and Bursa Malaysia have launched an investigation into the swap deal between MAS and AirAsia.

He said the probe would also look into the possibility of insider trading and will take time because it involved many accounts and a huge value.

He also said if the probe by the SC and Bursa Malaysia found evidence of insider trading, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) could also be
invited to investigate.

On a separate issues, Zarinah said SC and Bursa Malaysia have surveillance systems in place to monitor price movements of all counters listed on the
stock exchange.

"Necessary action will be taken depending on the outcome of our surveillance activities," she said when asked on the speculation in penny stocks recently,

Zarinah also called on investors to exercise caution and make informed investment decisions.- Bernama

Petronas Leadership Centre eyes regional role

BANGI (Nov 10):'' Petronas Leadership Centre (PLC), the national oil company's in-house learning arm, aims to become a premier centre for leadership excellence in the region by 2013.

President and chief executive Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas said the centre, a rebranding of Petronas Management Institute, will cater to the leadership
development needs of corporate and industry players in Malaysia and abroad.

"With the vision to be the leadership centre that "transforms leaders", PLC places the highest importance on creating leaders who are able to produce
impactful, sustainable results for their organisation," he said in his speech at the rebranding ceremony, read by executive vice president of gas and power business Datuk Anuar Ahmad.

He said to realise the vision, PLC has identified a few strategies which include building networks of credible partners through strategic collaborations
and associations, opening up a wide range of its learning and development solutions, and consultancy services relevant to the industry's business needs.

The centre will also enhance its presence in existing and unexplored markets to achieve commercial viability and self-sustainability, he added.

Meanwhile, PLC chief executive officer Yasir Abdul Rahman said the centre, which has trained more than 20,000 participants, has developed its
institutionalised capabilities including cross-cultural learning consultancy and innovative adult learning methodologies.

"Through our smart collaborations with established institutions, we are able to leverage on each other's unique strengths.

"This has resulted in signature programmes that are specially designed for the Malaysian and regional context," he said, adding the programmes include
the Petronas-Duke Senior Management Development Programme and Petronas-IFP Business Acumen for Oil and Gas Professionals.

At the event, PLC also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Razak School of Government to collaborate in the design, development and delivery of programmes and to share expertise and facilities to support and cultivate the growth of learning and leadership development in the public sector.

PLC is already collaborating with Duke Corporate Education, University of Melbourne, French Institute of Petroleum and Malaysian Institute of Integrity as well as various learning and training centres. - Bernama

Italy's crisis hammers markets, KLCI dn 18pts

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Italy's escalating crisis hammered key regional markets, especially Hong Kong where its benchmark index fell 4.5% while Bursa Malaysia was also not spared on Thursday.

At midday, the penny stocks which attracted huge speculative interest over the week, seemed to be holding on to much of their gains despite the fall in blue chips.

A sharper decline in market sentiment could have an adverse impact as margin calls kick in. While interest waned slightly among the recent penny stocks, traders shifted their interest to others like Iris, Patimas, Trinity and SAAG.

However, investors would have to watch how the European bourses fare when they opened later this afternoon. ''Of concern would be the huge volume of shares traded, among the highest at midday in recent months.

At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 18.22 points or 1.22% to 1,471.42. Turnover was 1.62 billion shares valued at RM710.23 million. There were 169 gainers to 252 losers while 173 stocks were unchanged.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 4.5% or 896.9 points to end the morning session at 19,117.5, weighed by the fall in HSBC and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 2.67% to 8,521.81, South Korea's Kospi 3.77% to 1,835.60 and Singapore's Straits Times Index 3.02% to 2,772.23.

At Bursa Malaysia, Hibiscus fell 1.5 sen to 76.5 sen but its warrants edged up one sen to 48 sen, Harvest Court Industries was down four sen to RM1.40 and the warrants, eight sen lower to RM1.18, Emico shed one sen lower at 38.5 sen after its price doubled on Wednesday before trading was halted.

Among the blue chips, BAT fell 56 sen to RM46.04 and Nestle 50 sen to RM49 while Dutch Lady gave up 18 sen to RM20.82 and Panasonic Malaysia 16 sen to RM19.20.

PPB lost 38 sen to RM1676, KLK 20 sen to RM20.84, HLFH 26 sen to RM11.62 and Genting 20 sen to RM10.80. Tenaga, which saw its outlook downgraded by Standards and Poor's, fell 16 sen to RM5.76.

Sept industrial output up 2.5% on-yr, down 1.9% from Aug

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Malaysia's industrial production index (IPI) in September rose 2.5% from a year ago, underpinned by the manufacturing sector.

The Statistics Department said on Thursday the increase in September was driven by growth in the manufacturing and electricity, which indices expanded 8.2% and 6.4% respectively. However, the index of mining fell 12.0%.

The IPI in August was revised to a 3.7% growth on-year. Month-on-month, the IPI fell 1.9 %.

'The cumulative index for the period of January-September 2011 increased 0.9% as compared with the same period of 2010,' it said.

According to the department, the manufacturing output in September increased 8.2% on-year and by 5.9% (revised) from a year ago.

'As compared with the preceding month, the output for September 2011 marginally decreased by 0.7%. The growth for the first nine months of 2011 increased 4.4% as compared with the same period of a year earlier,' it said.

The increase in the manufacturing output in September was due to increases in petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastics products (8.1%); non-metallic mineral products, basic metal and fabricated metal products (17.9%) and food, beverages and tobacco products (11.4%).

Tenaga falls on outlook downgrade, weak sentiment

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov'' 10): Shares of TENAGA NASIONAL BHD [] fell on Thursday in line with the weak markets but the decline was also affected by the downgrade by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

At 10.55am, Tenaga was down 14 sen to RM5.78 with 251,600 shares done.

The rating agency had revised downwards its outlook on Tenaga to negative from stable because it expected Tenaga's weakened profitability and higher operating costs to continue to weaken its significant financial risk profile.

However, S&P said it could revise the outlook to stable if the Malaysian government provides some fuel price relief that enables Tenaga to recover losses from fuel supply shortages.

RHB Research Institute said the downgrade on Tenaga's outlook could increase financing costs for borrowings related to the two hydroelectric projects costing a combined RM3.75 billion.

'For the extension of its Janamanjung power plant, we note that Tenaga issued RM5 billion sukuk prior to the outlook downgrade,' it said.

ICBC sees biggest fall in 3 years after Goldman cuts stake

HONG KONG (Nov 10): The Hong Kong-listed shares of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China , the world's biggest lender by market value, fell at the sharpest rate in over 3 years on Thursday after Goldman Sachs watered down its stake in the Chinese lender.

By 0215 GMT, ICBC shares had tapered losses to trade down 7.5 percent at HK$4.80. By comparison, the benchmark Hang Seng Index was down 4.5 percent. Earlier, its shares had fallen as much as 8.5 percent in early trade, its worst percentage fall since November 2008.

"Goldman's sale may have some ripple effect that may influence other foreign shareholders to consider selling," said Alexander Lee, an analyst at DBS Vickers in Hong Kong. "That said, such sales usually cause only short-term weakness, and it's better to look at the fundamentals."

Goldman sold $1.1 billion worth of ICBC shares, less than originally expected. It had sold 1.75 billion shares at HK$4.88 each, putting the total deal size at HK$8.54 billion, a person with direct knowledge of the terms told Reuters.

In Shanghai, ICBC's shares were down 1.6 percent. The domestic A-share market is typically less influenced by news outside of China because it is largely made up of retail investors.

The shares were sold at a 6 percent discount to ICBC's closing price of HK$5.19 on Wednesday, a discount narrower than the 11 percent set by Bank of America when it sold about half of its stake in China CONSTRUCTION [] Bank earlier this year.

BAC, RBS and UBS are among the foreign banks that have sold large stakes in Chinese banks since the financial crisis. Such sales are an attractive way to raise capital or reduce earnings volatility.


The Hong Kong-listed shares of HSBC , Europe's biggest bank, saw its biggest percentage plunge in over 2-1/2-years after its third quarter underlying pretax profit fell 36 percent and it said that its bad debts in the United States had jumped.

By 0247 GMT, HSBC shares were down 8 percent to HK$62.45. This would be the biggest percentage decline since March 2009, according to Thomson Reuters data.

It also follows a similar decline on its London-listed shares on Wednesday, which fell immediately after the bank released its third-quarter earnings report when it also warned that it might leave Britain.

"The U.S. situation was probably a big surprise to most of us," said Lee at DBS Vickers. "Provisions for bad debts in the U.S. business have been falling for a few years now, and I don't think any of us expected this."

HSBC was a big lender to sub-prime borrowers in the United States after it bought Household Financial eight years ago. It has since closed the business and aims to run down its $50 billion loan book. - Reuters

RHB Research maintains Outperform on SEGi

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): RHB Research Institute is maintaining its Outperform recommendation on SEG International with a fair value of RM2.15, based on unchanged target 17 times FY12 price-to-earnings ratio (PER).

It said on Thursday that recent concerns with regards to the possible PTPTN loan reduction will have a minimal impact on SEGi as only about 27% of its students are under the PTPTN loans.

SEGi's earnings rose 66.3% to RM18.32 million in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2011 from RM11.01 million a year ago. Revenue increased by 24.1% to RM69.95 million from RM56.36 million while earnings per share were 3.50 sen versus 2.22 sen.

For the nine-month period, its net profit increased by 74.2% to Rm54.57 million from RM31.32 million while revenue saw a 28.8% rise to RM207.65 million from RM161.23 million.

RHB Research said the '' 3Q11 net profit was within expectations. A dividend of 10 sen per share was declared.

' Although sequential performance was flattish, revenue grew by 24.1% on-year due to higher student enrolment that we estimate grew 19-20% on-year. As operating costs are mostly fixed, the improved top line resulted in EBIT growing 70.3% on-year. Effective tax rate increased to 21% in 3Q11 (vs. 18.4% in 3Q10), but the stronger EBIT led to an overall increase in the net profit margin to 26.5% (from 19.5% in 3Q10),' it said.

SEGi also inked an agreement with the Vietnam government to finalise the MoU that was signed in Aug. These collaborations will fall under the SkillsMalaysia INVITE project and SEGi will be responsible for providing skill-based training to the Vietnam vocational instructors and students.

'An initial batch of 600 Vietnam students will commence training in 2011. With average revenue of about RM20,000 per student, we believe that the SkillsMalaysia INVITE programme will contribute about 8% to the top line in the longer term,' said RHB Research.

RHB Research maintains Underperform on Lafarge

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): RHB Research Institute is maintaining its Underperform on Lafarge Malayan Cement as competition heats up in the domestic market.

It said on Thursday Lafarge estimates domestic cement demand to grow by 6%-8% in 2011 and 3%-5% in 2012, underpinned by key on-going large-scale infrastructure projects.

'Rebates given by cement players have surprisingly trended higher recently, while margins are under pressure due to high coal prices and hike in electricity tariff. The higher rebates mainly reflect increased competition in the industry, as certain players are trying to capture additional market share ahead of the imminent capacity expansion in the industry by mid-2013,' it said.

RHB Research said Lafarge has no plans to increase production capacity, but is looking for ways to de-bottleneck its production process. With minimal capex spending going forward, Lafarge's strong operating cashflow will be sufficient to support its dividend payout (estimated 34sen/share in FY11, translating to a decent yield of 4.9%).

'We cut our FY11-13F earnings forecasts by 3-7%, having adjusted our domestic cement demand growth assumptions, domestic vs. export sales ratio, domestic net selling price, and coal price assumptions.

'Indicative fair value is reduced to RM6.02 (from RM6.36) based on 14x revised FY12/12 EPS of 43.0 sen, in line with our one-year forward target PER for the cement sub-sector,' it said.

#Flash* Hang Seng Index falls nearly 1,000 pts

HONG KONG (Nov 10): Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 4.52% or almost 1,000 points in the opening minutes of Thursday trading, as financials sold off amid concerns about Italy's finances and their effect on the global economy.

The Hang Seng Index traded down 4.3% at 19,148.92, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 4.4%, and over on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite gave up a more modest 0.8%.

Shares in HSBC Holdings PLC surrendered 7.5% of their value in the wake of the bank's posting a 36% drop in quarterly profit excluding special items, as well as a sharp rise in non-performing loans.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd fell 7.7%, and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. gave up 4.6%.

Real-estate stocks were also among the leading decliners, with China Resources Land Ltd falling 6.7%, and Hang Lung PROPERTIES [] Ltd losing 6.8%. - MarketWatch

Asian markets battered by worsening Europe debt crisis

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Key regional markets including Bursa Malaysia were in a sea of red as investors grew increasingly worried about the worsening of Europe's debt crisis.

Reuters reported that Italian 10-year bond yields shot to their highest since the euro was introduced in 1999, after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he opposed any form of interim government and that the country must hold an election.

The election, which Berlusconi said was not likely until February, would leave a three-month policy vacuum that could wreak havoc in global markets.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was down 18.69 points to 1,470.95. Turnover was 948.63 million shares valued at RM309.73 million.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.15% to 8,566.98, Hong Kong's hang Seng Index lost 4.13% to 19,188.71, Shanghai's Composite Index 0.84% to 2,503.62 and Singapore's Straits Times Index 2.46% to 2,788.32.

At Bursa, KLK fell the most, down 44 sen to RM20.70 but with 100 shares done while United PLANTATION []s gave up 38 sen to Rm17.50, PPB 32 sen to RM16.82.

BAT fell 36 sen to RM46.24, Genting 22 sen to RM10.78 while among the banks, Public Bank-foreign. HLFG and HL Bank lost 16 sen each to RM12.50, RM11.72 and RM10.42 respectively.

HDBSVR expects Malaysian market to be hit

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Hwang DBS Vickers Research (HDBSVR) expects the Malaysian stock market to be hit on Thursday after the sharp overnight fall on Wall Street.

It said on Thursday the bears are back, selling down major US equity indices by between 3.2% and 3.9% last night.

Essentially, sentiment turned negative again as worries over whether Europe would be able to resolve its mounting sovereign debt woes have now spread from Greece to Italy.

'Our Malaysian bourse will likely be hit too when trading resumes this morning. The benchmark FBM KLCI could test and break under the immediate support level of 1,475 ahead,' it cautioned.

HDBSVR said stocks that may succumb to selling pressures today include: (a) penny stocks that have climbed sharply of late, such as Harvest Court; and (b) Tenaga, following S&P's downgrade on the utility's outlook from stable to negative.

Meanwhile, defensive counters like PLUS could attract interest after announcing that it would be paying additional dividends (quantum to be decided later) to its shareholders.

CIMB Research has technical buy on TA Enterprise

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): CIMB Equities Research has a technical buy on TA Enterptise at 59.5 sen at which it is trading at a price-to-book value of 0.7 times.

It said on Thursday that it appears that TA is now testing its downward slopping resistance trend line, looking eager to breakout. Prices held above its moving averages and are now attempting to push further.

'Once the 59.5 sen resistance is taken out, expect buying momentum to pick up strongly. The next upleg is going to lift prices towards 67 sen to 68 sen, where the latter is its 200-day SMA,' it said.

CIMB Research said the MACD signal line has staged a positive rollover while RSI has also hooked upwards once more. A slip below the recent swing low of 55.5 sen would trigger its stop.

#Flash* KLCI opens down 20pts

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): The FBM KLCI fell more than 20 points at the start of trade on Thursday as investors took profit on recent gainers as sentiment was battered by the overnight fall on Wall Street.

At 9am, the KLCI was down 20.41 points to 1,469.23. Turnover was 18.62 million shares valued at RM10.59 million. There were nine gainers to 147 losers.

BAT was the top loser, down RM1.12 to RM45.48 with 100 shares done. Genting fell 28 sen to RM10.72, DiGi 26 sen to RM33.90, Public Bank 18 sen to RM12.48 and CIMB 17 sen to RM7.19.

Other decliners were Tenaga, down 17 sen to RM5.75, Maybank 16 sen to Rm8.06 and Bursa 14 sen to RM6.63.

CIMB Research has technical buy on Scomi Group

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): CIMB Equities Research has a technical buy on Scomi Group at 30 sen at which it is trading at a price-to-book value of 0.4 times.

It said on Thursday that Scomi Group tried to break out of its huge descending wedge pattern yesterday but selling pressure was strong.

'This breakout could still take place as long as prices can hold above its moving averages at 28 sen,' it said.

CIMB Research said aggressive traders may buy on weakness with a stop placed below RM0.28. Others should wait for a close above its 200-day SMA before going long. Buying momentum should pick up given the rise in trading volume recently.

'Anything above 28 sen would keep the odds in favour of the bulls. On the upside, prices should re-rate towards 33.5 sen and 36.5 sen to 38 sen next,' it said.

CIMB Research has technical buy on Hexagon

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): CIMB Equities Research has a technical buy on Hexagon Holdings at 23.5 sen at which it is trading at a price-to-book value of 0.6 times.

It said on Thursday that Hexagon also took out its long term downtrend line recently and has been building a base just above it.

Wednesday's long white candle on rising volume could potentially be the signal that suggests it is again on the move.

'Technical landscape is improving with its MACD doing a rollover and its RSI has also hooked upwards. And since its RSI is not yet overbought, there is still room on the upside.

'Traders should remain cautious though and place a stop below yesterday's low of 20 sen just in case. A push past the 25 sen level would send prices climbing towards 30 sen to 32 sen next,' it said.

Wall St sinks as European debt plight worsens

NEW YORK (Nov 9): Stocks tumbled 3 percent on Wednesday in the market's worst day since mid-August as a spike in Italian bond yields signaled the European debt crisis had worsened.

All 10 S&P sectors were down, but S&P financials were the hardest hit on worries about European exposure, dropping 5.4 percent.

U.S. stock markets have grown more chaotic in response to rising volatility in European debt markets, and investors have trouble keeping up with a steady stream of headlines and pricing in how the crisis might play out.

"The market has turned into a derivative of what happens in Europe now," said Craig Hodges, president of Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, Texas.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 389.24 points, or 3.20 percent, at 11,780.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 46.82 points, or 3.67 percent, at 1,229.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 105.84 points, or 3.88 percent, at 2,621.65.

Dominating market moves are "day traders and people trying to capture and skim fractions of decimals off stocks," Hodges said.

The spread of the crisis to Italy has lifted it to a new level. European Union sources said German and French officials were discussing drastic plans, including an overhaul that would possibly create a smaller euro zone.

Italy's bond yields shot up to 7.502 percent, a new high since the euro was introduced in 1999. Investors were forced to sell Italian bonds after a European clearing house increased the collateral needed to borrow against that debt.

The 7 percent level was the point where European nations, including Ireland and Portugal, had to seek bailouts as their financing costs ballooned.

General Motors Co slid 10.9 percent to $22.31 after the automaker said it would not break even for the year in Europe, as it had forecast, due to deteriorating conditions in the region.

The S&P 500 saw its worst daily percentage drop since August 18.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's insistence on elections instead of an interim government raised concerns of prolonged instability and delays to economic reform.

Italy has replaced Greece at the center of the euro zone debt crisis and is seen teetering on the cusp of requiring a bailout. A deal on forming a Greek national unity government collapsed while economic turmoil continued.

Reflecting growing market anxiety, the CBOE Volatility Index VIX jumped 31.6 percent, its biggest daily percentage gain since mid-August. The index usually moves inversely to the S&P 500 as traders use it as a hedge against falling stocks.

"Italian bonds are essentially serving as another fear index like the VIX, and right now they're reflecting a lot of fear," said Charles Reinhard, deputy chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in New York.

Among bank stocks, Morgan Stanley fell 9 percent to $15.76. Goldman Sachs Group Inc dropped 8.2 percent to $99.67. Bank of America Corp lost 5.7 percent to $6.16.

After the closing bell, shares of Cisco Systems rose 2.2 percent to $18 after it reported earnings that beat expectations.

During the session, volume was about 8.65 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, just above last year's daily average of 8.47 billion.

Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a ratio of about 9 to 1 and on the Nasdaq by roughly 11 to 2. - Reuters