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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bursa Chat News Highlights (09.04.2009)

UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd, a unit of UMW Holdings Bhd (UMWH MK, Hold, TP: RM5.70), will launch its latest eco-car, the Toyota Prius by the second quarter of this year, as part of its commitment to be at the forefront of environment technology in the automotive industry. The Eco-car is a hybrid synergy drive vehicle which is environment-friendly. (Malaysian Reserve)
Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd plans to increase the price of its products soon to mitigate escalating costs, said managing director Soren Holm Jensen. He said that the price will be marginally increased, a few percentage on some products and will not be across all products and categories. High raw material costs especially in the past year have been eating into the profits of local brewers. The group’s hedging policy had resulted in it locking in purchases of raw ingredients at high prices although spot prices have plunged to their lows. Apart from that, Jensen said the beer industry had also been plagued with a big change in foreign exchange rates, especially the US$. (StarBiz)
Berjaya Hills Bhd, a subsidiary of Berjaya Corp Bhd, is to postpone for a second time the opening of its five-star resort, focusing on spa and wellness, in Berjaya Hills, Pahang, on concerns that the leisure market may continue to weaken in parallel with other regional markets. Built after the medieval Haut Koenigsburg Castle in Alsace, France, for RM100m last year, the resort will now open by end-2009, Colmar Tropicale general manager Bjorn-Henning Buth said. (BT)
MK Land Holdings Bhd plans to focus on ongoing projects in the Klang Valley that are still showing growth in sales despite the economic downturn. The property developer’s chief executive officer, Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar, said the company would however slow its resort and property developments in Perak and Langkawi. He said that the group had ample land-bank in the Klang Valley and need not start new projects. He also said that if the group just focused on the existing projects in the next 3 to 4 years, it could still survive the economic downturn. (StarBiz)
The RM250m expansion of the Penang International Airport is slated for completion by the end of 2010, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat says. He said work on the project, which is part of the RM60bn economic stimulus package unveiled last month, is due to begin in July. Malaysia Airports (Holdings) Bhd is currently at the planning stage of the expansion exercise and the contract is yet to be awarded. (BT)
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will announce the new cabinet line-up at 3pm today, said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. It said that the Prime Minister will have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, at 11am today to seek His Majesty’s consent on the line-up. The statement also said that the ministers and Deputy ministers will take their oaths of office, loyalty and secrecy at 9.30am tomorrow at Istana Negara. (Financial Daily)
Stocks rallied Wednesday at the end of a choppy session as a housing sector merger and more optimism about the recovery overshadowed sinking bank shares and the Fed' dour economic forecast. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.6% (+47.5 pts, close 7,837.1). The Standard & Poor' 500 index gained 1.2% (+9.6 pts, close 825.2) and the Nasdaq composite gained 1.9% (+29.1 pts, close 1,590.7). In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and the yen. U.S. light crude oil for May delivery rose 23 cents to settle at US$49.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (CNNmoney)
Sales at U.S. wholesalers rose in February for the first time in eight months, contributing to a record drop in inventories that indicates distributors are well on the way to eliminating the glut in stockpiles. Sales rose 0.6%, the first increase since June, the Commerce Department said yesterday. The 1.5% decrease in the value of stockpiles was the biggest since records started in 1992. At the current sales pace, it would take 1.31 months for distributors to deplete the amount of goods on hand, the lowest since November, compared with 1.34 months in January. Smaller inventories mean any stabilization in demand will translate into a pick up in orders and production. (Bloomberg)
The U.K. economy shrank 1.5% in 1Q09 as the recession increasingly resembled the one that started in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher took power, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said. The drop in gross domestic product followed a 1.6% decline in 4Q08, NIESR said yesterday. Consumer confidence last month matched the lowest level in at least four years, Nationwide Building Society said in a separate report. While there are some signs the economy’s deterioration is slowing, unemployment is rising at the fastest pace in three decades, pushing Prime Minister Gordon Brown to redouble his efforts before the next election. The Bank of England will probably keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a three- century low of 0.5% in its monthly decision today. (Bloomberg)
Japan’s current-account surplus narrowed in February as the global recession caused exports to plunge an unprecedented 50.4%. The surplus shrank 55.6% y-o-y to 1.117trn yen (US$11bn), the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. Japan had a 172.8bn yen deficit in January, its first in 13 years. The return to a surplus was because of a record drop in imports, suggesting demand at home is also weakening as companies from Nissan Motor Corp. to Panasonic Corp. cut output and fire workers. Confidence at large manufacturers fell to a record low in March and executives signalled more spending and job cuts, the Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey showed last week. The y-o-y drop in exports was the biggest since comparable data were made available in January 1985, as was the 44.9% slide in imports. (Bloomberg)
Japan will likely spend about 15trn yen (US$150bn) in its next economic stimulus package, according to a ruling Liberal Democratic Party legislator involved in shaping the plan. The measures would represent about 3% of gross domestic product, taking total spending by Prime Minister Taro Aso to spur growth to 25trn yen since he took office in September. Aso this week indicated he wanted to spend at least 10trn yen in the latest package. Bond yields yesterday rose toward the highest since November after Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said issuing debt to fund the spending is “unavoidable.” Aso told reporters yesterday that the government may need to sell bonds to pay for the measures, without specifying any amounts. The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond climbed 2.5 basis points to 1.45% at the close in Tokyo. The government’s ability to revive the economy is constrained by its debt, which is already the largest in the world, and is likely to spiral to 197% of gross domestic product next year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Bloomberg)
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