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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bursa Chat News Highlights

Malaysia

MAS (MAS MK, Sell, TP: RM2.44) has been ordered to pay a total of RM34.5m to Advanced Cargo Ligistic GmbH for breach of contract in not maintaining its European cargo hub at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport for 10 years from 1999. Advanced Cargo Logistic had initiated an arbitration in 2004 claiming from MAS damages of EUR62.6m (RM308.62m) and further interest and costs for breach of a cargo handling contract. (Financial Daily)

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After a long absence, Penang will once again have direct air links with Chennai, India, following the Malaysian Ministry of Transport’s approval for AirAsia (AIRA MK, Buy, TP: RM1.90) to fly the route. AirAsia chief hopes that the route would be launched in 3 months. As for other new routes for Penang, it was said that Chennai would be the only one this year. (Financial Daily)

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Parkson Holdings Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary PRG Corporation Ltd has signed a share placement agreement with UBS Securities Asia Ltd for the placement of 55m shares of HK$0.02 each in Parkson Retail Group, representing 1.96% of the paid up share capital of the latter. The final placement price was fixed at HK$11.71 (RM5.27) per share which was a 4.95% discount to Parkson Retail’s closing price. Gross proceeds raised amounted to RM289m and the investment made for the 55m shares was RM50m in September 2007. (Financial Daily)

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Crude palm oil futures continued its gains for a second day, tracking crude oil and soybeans as commodity prices rally in the wake of manufacturers rebuilding inventories in preparation for an economic rebound. LMC International’s economist said that crude oil prices may determine the direction of palm oil for a few months. Palm oil may drop to US$580 a tonne if crude oil tumbles to US$45 per barrel by November or rise to US$830 if crude rises to US$70 a barrel according to LMC. (Financial Daily)

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The practice of giving Extention of Time (EOT) will be restricted to ensure government projects are not delayed, said the Works Minister yesterday. He said the matter should be given attention as it led to cost overruns. At present he said that approximately 80% of development projects were given the EOT, but said that other causes like land acquisition, utility transfer and price hikes are also the cause for delays. (Financial Daily)

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Malaysian companies are invited to participate in US$4.68bn (RM16.2bn) dedicated freight corridor project that would link some of the most industrial parts of India. The freight only rail project consists of two tracks, the first connecting Mumbai to Delhi while the second track will link Kolkata and Ludhiana. (Malaysian Reserve)

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Malaysian companies are invited to invest in Saudi Arabia which is offering up to US$500bn (RM1.7trn) in opportunities over the next five years in various sectors. Saudi Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry secretary general Dr Fahad Saleh A. Al Sultan said the sectors are construction, telecommunication infrastructure, education, health, agriculture, and railway, among others. Fahad said the oil-rich kingdom is also eyeing investment opportunities in Malaysia, particularly the Iskandar development region in Johor. (BT)

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In a statement yesterday, the EPF said the Flexible Age 55 Withdrawal saw a significant increase in its take-up rate during the first quarter of 2009. "In the first quarter, a total of 9,731 applications were approved under the Flexible Age 55 Withdrawal compared with 7,538 applications in the fourth quarter of 2008. "On a year-on-year basis, it increased by 85.46% compared with 5,247 applications in the corresponding period last year," it said. Total amount withdrawn under this withdrawal amounted to RM505.94m (RM442.71m in 4Q08) compared with RM341.85m in 1Q08, it said. (BT)


Global

Stocks rallied Monday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average near the breakeven point for the year, as better-than- expected readings on manufacturing activity raised hopes that a global economic recovery is brewing. The DJIA gained 2.6% (+221.1 pts, close 8,721.4). The S&P 500 index gained 2.6% (+23.7 pts, close 942.9) while the Nasdaq composite gained 3.1% (+54.4 pts, close 1,795.3). In currency trading, the dollar fell against the euro and the British pound. It rose against the Japanese yen. NYMEX oil for July delivery rose US$2.27 to settle at US$68.58 a barrel. (CNNMoney)

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Manufacturing in the U.S. shrank less than forecast in May as new orders increased for the first time since the recession began, a sign that companies are growing more confident the slump will end this year. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 42.8 from 40.1 in April. Readings of less than 50 on the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s gauge signal a contraction. The new-orders measure jumped to 51.1 from 47.2. Economists expected the ISM’s manufacturing index to rise to 42.3, according to the median of 71 projections in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from 38 to 45.5. The ISM’s production index rose to 46, the highest since August, from 40.4 the prior month. The employment index slipped to 34.3 from 34.4. A gauge of export orders rose to 48 from 44. (Bloomberg)

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Europe’s manufacturing industry contracted at the slowest pace in seven months in May, adding to signs that the worst may be over. A gauge of manufacturing activity rose to 40.7 from 36.8 in April, Markit Economics said yesterday. That was the biggest increase since the survey started in 1997 and compared with the initial estimate of 40.5 published on May 21. That gain was the largest. The index is based on a survey of purchasing managers by London-based Markit and a reading below 50 indicates contraction. The manufacturing index for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, was at 39.6 in May, Markit said. Italy’s was 41.1 and the index for France was 43.3. (Bloomberg)

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A U.K. manufacturing index rose more than economists forecast in May to the highest in a year, adding to signs that the recession may be past its worst. A gauge based on a survey of factories climbed to 45.4 from 43.1 in May, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and Markit Economics said yesterday. Economists predicted 44, the median of 25 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey shows. The report reinforces evidence that the recession is easing, after the economy contracted the most in a generation in 1Q09. Policy makers will decide on June 4 to refrain from expanding their money-printing plan, according to all but two of 39 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. A separate survey showed the bank will keep the key rate at 0.5%. (Bloomberg)

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U.K. house prices stopped falling in May for the first time in 20 months, adding to evidence the property market slump is abating, a survey of real-estate agents by Hometrack Ltd. showed. Average prices in England and Wales held at 155,600 pounds (US$255,000) after they declined 0.3% in April, the London- based property researcher said. On the year, values dropped 9.6%. “The survey shows that pricing expectations among vendors has finally re-aligned to a level that is more in line with what the current pool of purchasers are prepared to pay,” Richard Donnell, director of research at Hometrack, said. “The outlook for the economy remains far from certain. It is too early to rule out future price falls.” (Bloomberg)

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Japan’s demand for goods and services declined by a record last quarter, adding to evidence deflation may return to haunt the world’s second-largest economy. The output gap, a measure of the balance between demand and supply in the economy, fell 8.5% in 1Q09, the Cabinet Office said in Tokyo, the biggest decline since the government started tracking the data in 1980. A separate report today showed that wages slid 2.5%, extending their longest losing streak since 2003. Economists regard the output gap as a key indicator of whether the economy is slipping into to a period of continuous price declines. The gauge’s decrease last quarter was almost double the 4.5% drop in the previous three months. (Bloomberg)

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China’s manufacturing expanded for a third month, driving stocks to the biggest gain since March and adding to evidence that the economy is recovering. The official Purchasing Manager’s Index was at a seasonally adjusted 53.1 in May after registering 53.5 in April, the Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said yesterday. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion. A surge in lending and investment and rising retail sales have spurred confidence that Premier Wen Jiabao’s 4trn yuan (US$586bn) stimulus package is reviving growth in the world’s third-biggest economy. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said yesterday that the global recession may be easing, helped partly by China’s “very forceful” measures.
(Bloomberg)

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