Thursday, December 20th, 2018


Dollar tumbles to one-month low on US rate outlook, growth concerns

NEW YORK, Dec 20 — The dollar fell to a one-month low today, after the Federal Reserve signalled fewer interest rate hikes over the next two years and expressed caution about the US economic outlook, lessening the appeal of dollar-denominated…

US stocks fall again as market digests Fed

NEW YORK, Dec 20 — Wall Street stocks fell again early today as investors digested a Federal Reserve message seen as more aggressive than expected for interest rate hikes in the coming year. About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial…

Oil slumps to lowest in a year as stock markets sink

LONDON, Dec 20 — Oil prices fell more than 4 per cent today, hitting their lowest in more than a year on worries about oversupply and the outlook for energy demand as a US interest rate rise knocked stock markets. Equities dropped worldwide after…

Indian regulator orders J&J to stop using raw material to make Baby Powder in India

NEW DELHI, Dec 20 — India’s drugs regulator has ordered Johnson & Johnson to stop manufacturing its Baby Powder using raw materials currently in two of its Indian factories until test results prove they are free of asbestos, a senior…

Qualcomm wins Apple case, could lead to iPhone ban in Germany

BERLIN, Dec 20 — A German court today found in favour of US chipmaker Qualcomm in a patent dispute case against Apple, which could lead to a ban on sales of iPhones in Germany. “The ruling effectively outlaws the offering and placing on the…

Asian stocks slump after Fed raises interest rates

HONG KONG: Tokyo led a rout of Asian shares today, mirroring big losses on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve (Fed) defied unprecedented pressure from US President Donald Trump and raised interest rates, sparking fears the move could choke economic growth.

The Nikkei plunged to a 15-month low as investors took fright over the pace of monetary tightening, with a slump triggered by the Dow’s fall to its lowest level of 2018 gathering pace.

The Fed raised rates for the fourth time this year – as expected – but markets reacted badly after chairman Jerome Powell said the bank would not shift course on reducing its balance sheet.

Investors had hoped for a less aggressive approach amid concern that global growth is slowing, while Powell played down the impact of recent market turmoil on the US economy.

“They think the Fed has completely misjudged the situation and now it’s just a matter of … trying to find an exit while you can,“ said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG Group in Melbourne.

“We’re probably entering a stage now where markets have got it (in) their head that we’re preparing for quite sustained downside going into 2019.”

The Fed now projects only two interest rate increases, down from three previously, as it trimmed its forecast for US growth and inflation.

Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA, said the “Fed delivered a dovish hike, but clearly, there wasn’t enough affirmation in the statement that the Fed was close to pausing or ending their interest rate hike cycle sooner than expected”.

But some analysts urged caution.

“The market overreacted to the Fed, I think,“ said Shane Oliver, head of invest-ment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney.

“It is moving in a dovish direction and is on track for a pause in the first half of next year. Markets are being driven by fear rather than fundamentals.”

But the spillover from the rate hike continued to rattle investors in Asia today, deepening concern over global growth prospects which are already facing headwinds from Trump’s trade war with Beijing, a slowing Chinese economy, and potential turmoil from Britain quitting the European Union.

Japanese stocks also declined after the Bank of Japan left ultralow rates unchanged, with the threat of trade protectionism and slowing global growth casting a pall over the export-driven economy. A strong yen also put downward pressure on stocks with the dollar falling below ¥112.

Nissan dropped more than 2% after a Japanese court rejected prosecutors’ request to extend the detention of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn after his arrest for financial misconduct.

Shanghai fell more than 0.5%, even after the People’s Bank of China said it would supply lower-cost liquidity for up to three years to banks willing to lend more to small companies, as policy makers aim to shore up the flagging economy.

Sydney closed more than 1% lower while Hong Kong and Seoul were down 0.9% each.

The equities slump spread to Europe. Around 1100 GMT, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.5% with losses capped by stronger-than-expected UK retail sales data and as traders looked ahead to the outcome of the Bank of England’s regular monetary policy meeting later today.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 shed 1.0% and the Paris CAC 40 slumped 1.5%. – AFP

Spooked global funds drive up cash and bond holdings

LONDON, Dec 20 — Spooked by another worldwide stocks selloff, global investors have piled up cash to a more than two-year high this month, hoovered up bonds and cut back property holdings. Brexit worries have also made the UK stocks more unpopular…

E.A. Technique bags contracts worth RM94.5m

PETALING JAYA: E.A. Technique (M) Bhd has clinched two contracts worth a total of RM94.5 million to supply and operate several assets.

The first contract, valued at RM66.3 million, was awarded by Petroliam Nasional Bhd, involving two units of 40 tonnes bollard pull harbour tugs for Kertih Port Sdn Bhd and one unit of harbour tug cum support vessel for Petronas Penapisan (Terengganu) Sdn Bhd.

The contract has a primary period of five years with option to extend for two years, on annual basis (5+1+1 years).

The second contract, valued at RM28.2 million, was awarded by Sungai Udang Port Sdn Bhd for the provision and operation of one unit of 40 tonnes bollard pull harbour tug, one unit of multipurpose mooring boat and two units of 60 tonnes bollard pull harbour tug for Sungai Udang Port’s regasification terminal.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said the 40 tonnes bollard pull harbour tug and multipurpose mooring boat will be the group’s own assets while the two units of 60 tonnes bollard pull harbour tug will be charter-in-vessels.

The contract duration for the 40 tonnes bollard pull harbour tug, multipurpose mooring boat and one unit of the 60 tonnes bollard pull harbour tug is two years with an option to extend for one year while the other unit of the 60 tonnes bollard pull harbour tug has a contract duration of six months with an option to extend for another six months.

Both contracts are expected to contribute positively to the earnings and net tangible assets of the group for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2019 and beyond.

E.A. Technique’s share price fell 4.54% or 1.5 sen to close at 31.5 sen today with 332,800 shares traded.

Genting: Outdoor theme park opening depends on options

PETALING JAYA: Genting Malaysia Bhd said the outdoor theme park remains a part of its growth plan, but it clarified that the opening date is dependent on the options pursued by the company.

This is in contrary to media reports that the outdoor theme park is scheduled to open early next month. It added that the management is considering various options for the outdoor theme park.

Earlier, Genting Malaysia had filed legal proceedings in the US against Walt Disney Co and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc in response to a partnership termination notice.

BCorp: Corporate plans are Vincent Tan’s personal ideas and strategies

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) has clarified that the corporate plans announced by its founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun are his personal ideas and strategies.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said that its board of directors is not aware of and has not deliberated on any of the plans or proposals mentioned, including the delisting of 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand).

On Wednesday, Tan, who is the deemed controlling major shareholder of BCorp, also announced the potential sale of Four Seasons Hotel and Hotel Residences in Kyoto, Japan.

However BCorp clarified that it is still in negotiations with potential buyers on the possible sale of the hotel in Japan and have not entered into any definitive agreement.

Meanwhile, BLand reported a pre-tax profit of RM76.44 million for the second quarter ended Oct 31 compared with a pre-tax loss of RM95.91 million a year ago mainly due to the impairment of balance sales proceeds from the sale of Great Mall of China (GMOC) project and loss arising from partial disposal of interest in an associated company reported a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter fell 6.52% to RM1.51 billion from RM1.61 billion.

For the six months ended Oct 31, pre-tax profit soared more than 54 times to RM198.1 million from RM3.67 million a year ago mainly thanks to the three-month tax holiday prior to the implementation of the sales and services tax, which mitigated the impact of higher prize payout of Sports Toto Malaysia, and favourable effect of foreign exchange translation.

Revenue for the period fell 2.66% to RM3.13 billion from RM3.22 billion.

BLand expects the number forecast operation business to be satisfactory and that it will continue to maintain its market share for the remaining quarters of the financial year ending April 30, 2019.