Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

 

Dow takes renewed aim at 26,000 as Wall Street opens higher

NEW YORK, Jan 17 — Wall Street opened higher today, with the Dow again poised to cross the 26,000-point threshold amid a fresh wave of earnings reports from major financial firms. Along with the mixed performance among major banks before the…


Bitcoin slides below US$10,000 amid clampdown fears

LONDON/TOKYO: Bitcoin skidded below US$10,000 (RM39,500) today, halving in value from its peak price, with investors gripped by fears regulators could clamp down on the volatile cryptocurrency that sky-rocketed last year.

The price of bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best known cryptocurrency, fell to as low as US$9,500 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, the lowest since Dec 1.

Bitcoin touched a peak of almost US$20,000 in December – and indeed crossed over that threshold on some exchanges – but has since been roiled by several large sell-offs.

Other cryptocurrencies plunged as well. Ethereum and ripple were both down heavily after reports South Korea and China could ban cryptocurrency trading, sparking worries of a wider regulatory crackdown.

“There is a lot of panic in the market. People are selling to try and get the hell out of there,” said Charles Hayter, founder of Cryptocompare, which owns cryptocurrencies.

“You have more regulatory uncertainty … and because of these falls you have these other outfalls,” he said, referring to the collapse of some cryptocurrencies in the recent slump in prices.

With South Korea, Japan and China all making noises about a regulatory swoop, and officials in France and the United States vowing to investigate cryptocurrencies, there are concerns that global coordination on how to regulate them will accelerate.

Officials are expected to debate the rise of bitcoin at the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina in March.

“Cryptocurrencies could be capped in the current quarter ahead of the G20 meeting in March, where policymakers could discuss tighter regulations,” said Shuhei Fujise, chief analyst at Alt Design.

Analysts at Citi said today bitcoin could halve again in value amid the current rout, adding that a possible fall to between the US$5,605 and US$5,673 area “looks very likely to be very speedy”.

“Bitcoin is deciding whether this is the moment to crash and burn,” said Steven Englander, head of strategy at New York-based Rafiki Capital.

“My conjecture is that cryptocurrency holders are trying to decide whether to abandon bitcoin because its limitations mean it will be superseded by better products or bet that it can thrive despite them.” – Reuters


JM Education will be third firm to list on LEAP

PETALING JAYA: JM Education Group Bhd, which will be the third entrant into the Bursa Malaysia’s Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform (LEAP) and the first for 2018, plans to issue up to 6.8 million shares, representing 10% of the company’s share capital, at 45 sen apiece.

The education counselling, skills training and student placement services provider, which filed its information memorandum (IM) with the stock exchange today, said it is looking to make its bourse debut in early February.

The company is to raise RM3.06 million from the exercise, of which RM910,000 or 29.7% will be used to foot listing expenses, while RM890,000 or 29.1% will be used to repay bank borrowings.

JM Education also intends to deploy RM740,000 or 24.2% for marketing expenses and expansion, whereas RM520,000 or equivalent to 17% will be used for working capital.

Upon listing, the group’s market capitalisation is expected to stand at RM30.51 million.

The company’s substantial shareholder is its managing director, Teh Cheong Hua, who holds 92.5% equity interest while the remaining 7.5% stake is held by his wife, Su Cheia Yee.

The group’s unaudited accounts show that it recorded a revenue of RM5.45 million for the seven-month period ended July 31, 2017.

It has three wholly owned subsidiaries under its wing, namely Education UK Network, JM Education (Sabah) and Miraj Academy. Its 50%-owned associate company Konsortium Kemahiran is dormant.

Cloudaron Group Bhd and Red Ideas Holdings Bhd are the two current listees on the LEAP market.


Stocks In Focus (18-01-2018)

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 17): Based on corporate announcements and news flow today, stocks in focus on Thursday (Jan 18) may include the following: Vizione Holdings…


Bitcoin slumps to US$10,000, half its peak price, as regulatory fears grow

LONDON, Jan 17 — Bitcoin skidded a further 12 per cent today, marking an almost halving in value from its peak price, with investors spooked by fears regulators could clamp down on the volatile cryptocurrency that skyrocketed last year. The…


EDL sukuk rating may be downgraded, says RAM

KUALA LUMPUR: RAM Ratings said ratings on a sukuk to fund the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) may be downgraded with prolonged negotiations between MRCB Lingkaran Selatan Sdn Bhd and the government, as the cash pile of the funding conduit MRCB Southern Link Sdn Bhd dwindles.

MRCB Lingkaran Selatan, the toll concessionaire holder, is still in discussions with the government on the termination of its concession agreement and the final settlement amount.

RAM Ratings has a BB3 rating on MRCB Southern Link’s RM845 million senior sukuk, which is now on its Rating Watch and a negative outlook.

As at Dec 31, 2017, MRCB Southern Link’s cash balances stood at RM17.45 million. Given the absence of toll revenue from Jan 1, 2018, RAM Ratings said the company’s cash pile will not be sufficient to settle the ensuing principal and profit payments on its senior sukuk.

RAM’s rating action follows the abolishment of toll collection at the 8.62-km EDL effective Jan 1, 2018, and the takeover of the expressway by the government.

MRCB Southern Link’s financial commitments will be supported by back-to-back payments from MRCB Lingkaran Selatan Sdn Bhd the toll concessionaire holder.

“We expect to resolve the Rating Watch once details on the proposed settlement and, by extension, repayment of the company’s sukuk obligations are made available to RAM,” RAM Ratings said in a statement today.

RAM estimates the drawdown of the company’s finance service reserve account bank-guarantee facility to alleviate cash shortfalls in honouring its financial obligations up to June 2018, barring any unexpected expenditure.

“Should negotiations on a final settlement be prolonged and without shareholder support or any other external liquidity support thereafter, the rating of the senior sukuk is expected to be downgraded in anticipation of a potential default by the end of this year.”


Standard Chartered sets up digital innovation, fintech investment unit

SINGAPORE: Standard Chartered PLC has established a new business arm named SC Ventures, to drive digital innovation, invest in fintech and start-up companies and promote rapid testing and implementation of new business models.

The new unit will focus on problem solving and spreading innovation best practices and client centric design, managing minority investments in FinTech companies and further investments in promising technologies and sponsor and oversee new disruptive technology ventures that are wholly or partially owned by Standard Chartered.

SC Ventures will be headed by by Alex Manson, who is the Global Head of Transaction Banking.

“Technology is at the heart of Standard Chartered’s strategy – driving efficiencies, increasing automation, introducing global platforms, reducing manual errors and strengthening how it combats financial crime,” the group said in a statement.

In 2015, it announced it was investing about US$3 billion (RM11.9 billion) over three years in technology and systems.


Standard Chartered sets up SC Ventures

SINGAPORE: Standard Chartered PLC has established a new business arm named SC Ventures, to drive digital innovation, invest in fintech and start-up companies and promote rapid testing and implementation of new business models.

The new unit will focus on problem solving and spreading innovation best practices and client centric design, managing minority investments in FinTech companies and further investments in promising technologies and sponsor and oversee new disruptive technology ventures that are wholly or partially owned by Standard Chartered.

SC Ventures will be headed by by Alex Manson, who is the Global Head of Transaction Banking.

“Technology is at the heart of Standard Chartered’s strategy – driving efficiencies, increasing automation, introducing global platforms, reducing manual errors and strengthening how it combats financial crime,” the group said in a statement.

In 2015, it announced it was investing about US$3 billion (RM11.9 billion) over three years in technology and systems.


ECS ICT expects Thunderobot deal to boost revenue growth

KUALA LUMPUR: ECS ICT Bhd which expanded its ICT products distribution portfolio after its wholly owned subsidiary ECS ASTAR Sdn Bhd was appointed as the sole distributor for the Thunderobot gaming computers and accessories in Malaysia, expects the distributorship to grow the group’s revenue for 2018.

The group’s CEO Soong Jan Hsung said in a statement that the addition of four new Thunderobot product offerings namely the DINO, 911 GT, ST Plus and 911 SE to the existing distribution portfolio will enlarge ECS’ product offerings and increase the group’s revenue for 2018.

Thunderobot computers will be available at authorised ECS retailers nationwide in Malaysia as well as the online branded stores on popular e-commerce websites.

The company will be the first company to offer the products.

“Southeast Asia is the fastest growing region for the e-Sports scene at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 36.1% between 2015-2019, reaching 19.8 million of e-Sports enthusiasts.

“Tapping on the lucrative world of digital gaming, Malaysia has plans to host the Malaysia Cyber Games 2018 as well as prep for the 2022 Asian Games to boost the presence of e-Sports in the country.

“Hence, ECS Malaysia, being the first in SouthEast Asia to offer Thunderobot computers, will be able to ride along the e-Sports wave,” said Soong.

The products does not only cater to the gaming crowd, but also serves as graphic workstations for architectural and design professions, given its ability for heavy duty performance.


ECS expects Thunderobot to boost revenue growth

KUALA LUMPUR: ECS ICT Bhd which expanded its ICT products distribution portfolio after its wholly owned subsidiary ECS ASTAR Sdn Bhd was appointed as the sole distributor for the Thunderobot gaming computers and accessories in Malaysia, expects the distributorship to grow the group’s revenue for 2018.

The group’s CEO Soong Jan Hsung said in a statement that the addition of four new Thunderobot product offerings namely the DINO, 911 GT, ST Plus and 911 SE to the existing distribution portfolio will enlarge ECS’ product offerings and increase the group’s revenue for 2018.

Thunderobot computers will be available at authorised ECS retailers nationwide in Malaysia as well as the online branded stores on popular e-commerce websites.

The company will be the first company to offer the products.

“Southeast Asia is the fastest growing region for the e-Sports scene at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 36.1% between 2015-2019, reaching 19.8 million of e-Sports enthusiasts.

“Tapping on the lucrative world of digital gaming, Malaysia has plans to host the Malaysia Cyber Games 2018 as well as prep for the 2022 Asian Games to boost the presence of e-Sports in the country.

“Hence, ECS Malaysia, being the first in SouthEast Asia to offer Thunderobot computers, will be able to ride along the e-Sports wave,” said Soong.

The products does not only cater to the gaming crowd, but also serves as graphic workstations for architectural and design professions, given its ability for heavy duty performance.