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Friday, May 15, 2009

Bursa Chat - News Highlights (15.05.2009)

AirAsia Bhd (AIRA MK, Buy, TP: RM1.90) will triple its advertising spending this year, as it sees opportunities to expand amid the economic slowdown, said group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes. He said AirAsia is committed to building their brand despite the economic downturn by focusing on creativity, brand innovation and technology. The airline also hopes to boost the tourism sector by wooing more tourists to spend in Malaysia. (Starbiz)
Axis Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) will soon lose Nestle (M) Bhd as an anchor tenant in one of its properties, but it is in discussion with prospective tenants. Axis REIT Managers Bhd chief executive officer Stewart LaBrooy said the group will spend RM7m on renovations to reposition the building as a 21 century icon. The building is expected to be ready by 2010. Nestle said the current building is too small to cater for its future needs. LaBorry did not disclose if the move will affect the trust. (Starbiz)
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) saw fewer passengers going through its 39 airports in the first three months of 2009. It saw a drop of 1.9% in passenger traffic, to 11.1m passengers from 11.3m for the same period last year. In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, MAHB said the bulk of the decline was from passengers going through the KL International Airport, with 6.4m passengers as opposed to 6.6m previously. (BT)
MISC has entered into a shareholders agreement with Petronas International Corp Ltd and Mustang Engineering Ltd to establish a JV company to provide floating LNG solutions and services worldwide. MISC said the share capital of the JV company was RM32.5m with Petronas holding 60% equity, MISC 30% and Mustang 10%. (Financial Daily)
The Malaysia-India Business Council (MIBC) said small-scale builders, developers, consultants, architects and engineers can piggy-back on Malaysian companies in India to get jobs in the region. They could also find the right partner for projects, or set up a company in India and look for jobs themselves, MIBC president Datuk Krishnan Tan said. He added that there are currently big opportunities in India' property sector to build and sell a range of products from mass housing to villas. "The infrastructure market is also under supplied. The opportunities are not just for the big boys but smaller players as well," he said. India' construction sector, comprising property, infrastructure and industrial, is worth US$145bn (RM514bn). (BT)

Stocks rallied Thursday, bouncing back after several down sessions as investors weighed some weaker-than-expected reports with growing economic optimism. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.6% (+46.4 pts, close 8,331.3). The Standard & Poor' 500 index gained 1.0% (+9.2 pts, close 893.1) and the Nasdaq composite gained 1.5% (+25.0 pts, close 1,689.2). In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and gained against the yen. U.S. light crude oil for June delivery rose 60 cents to settle at US$58.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (CNNmoney)
More Americans than forecast filed unemployment-insurance claims last week because of the Chrysler LLC bankruptcy that is likely to reverberate through the economy for months. Initial jobless claims rose by 32,000 to 637,000 in the week ended May 9, the Labour Department said yesterday. A good part of the jump was from states reporting an increase in auto-related claims, a Labour official said without providing a more precise estimate. The bankruptcy filing by Chrysler, and the potential for a similar step by General Motors Corp., is likely to cause further job losses as suppliers and communities are affected. The total number of people collecting unemployment insurance surged in the prior week to 6.56m, setting a record for the 15th straight week and indicating companies are still not hiring. The lack of jobs may restrain consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, and put off a return to growth that economists project for later this year. (Bloomberg)
Prices paid to U.S. producers rose in April as food costs surged, pushing back risks that extended price declines may take root in the economy. The 0.3% increase was more than forecast and followed a drop of 1.2% in March, the Labour Department said yesterday. Excluding fuel and food, so-called core prices climbed 0.1%, as anticipated. Signs that the worst of the recession is over may boost commodity costs further, alleviating concern over deflation, or an extended drop in prices that hurts the economy. Along with the trillions of dollars pumped into the banking system by the Federal Reserve, increases in raw materials may stoke inflation once an economic recovery takes hold. (Bloomberg)
European Central Bank policy makers clashed over the bank’s asset-buying program and prospects for a recovery less than a week after President Jean-Claude Trichet engineered a truce. Vice President Lucas Papademos said yesterday that a recovery may come sooner than previously thought. Minutes earlier, Dutch council member Nout Wellink said economists shouldn’t get too optimistic about “green shoots.” That came a day after Germany’s Axel Weber and Slovenia’s Marko Kranjec reopened a split over the size of the ECB’s bond-purchase plan. A split on the 22-member Governing Council this year has made it difficult for Trichet to send a clear signal on how the ECB will step up its fight against Europe’s worst recession since World War II. While he won support on a plan to purchase 60bn euros (US$82bn) in covered bonds, a
compromise on the program’s focus and scope may already be unravelling. The debate rumbled on yesterday across Europe, with Slovakia’s Ivan Sramko saying nothing can be excluded and Executive Board member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo saying there’s no plan to expand purchases “at the moment.” (Bloomberg)
Indonesia and the Philippines still have room to cut their benchmark interest rates to shore up their economies as inflation eases amid the global recession, the countries’ central banks said yesterday. Policy makers across Asia have slashed borrowing costs and are boosting spending to counter the worst global economic slump since World War II. Countries including Malaysia and South Korea, where the benchmark interest rates are 2% compared with 4.5% in the Philippines and 7.25% in Indonesia, have halted rate cuts in anticipation of a recovery in growth. (Bloomberg)
The cost of borrowing in dollars between banks fell the most in eight weeks as government and central bank efforts to unlock credit markets showed signs of bearing fruit and deposits at financial institutions grew. The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, for such loans fell almost three basis points to 0.85% yesterday, according to the British Bankers’ Association. The so-called TED spread, the difference between what the U.S. Treasury and banks pay to borrow for three months, dropped three basis points to 69 basis points, its lowest since the day before BNP Paribas SA halted withdrawals from three of its funds on Aug. 9, 2007, because of subprime-mortgage related losses. Bank borrowing costs have tumbled as the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve pledged US$12.8trn to drag the economy out of its longest recession since the 1930s and policy makers around the world cut interest rates to near zero. The Libor-OIS spread, a measure of the unwillingness of banks to offer each other cash, narrowed three basis points to 64 basis points yesterday, its lowest level since June 16. (Bloomberg)
World oil demand this year will post the sharpest annual decline since 1981 as the economy struggles to bounce back, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday. Demand will contract by 2.56 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2009, the IEA, which advises 28 industrialised countries, said in a monthly report. It previously forecast demand would fall by 2.4 million
bpd this year. (BT)
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