Saturday, February 2nd, 2019


Young entrepreneurs must learn to promote business online, says Sabah asst minister

KOTA KINABALU, Feb 2 — Young entrepreneurs in Sabah must enhance efforts to promote their respective businesses and products through various platforms including online.            Sabah Assistant Finance Minister…

Aspen-Ikea JV invests RM2.6b in world-class metropolis in Penang

BATU KAWAN, Feb 2 — Aspen Vision City Sdn Bhd, a joint-venture (JV) company between Aspen Group Holdings Ltd and IKEA Southeast Asia, has invested more than RM2.6 billion to date in its 99.15-hectare (ha) master-planned metropolis in mainland…

Global stocks mostly rise after strong US jobs data

NEW YORK, Feb 2 — Global stocks mostly rose yesterday following strong US jobs data, though Wall Street’s rally showed signs of fatigue after the Dow finished its best January in 30 years. US employers added 304,000 net new positions last month…

GM to lay off about 4,000 salaried workers, source says

NEW YORK, Feb 2 — General Motors is expected to lay off about 4,000 salaried workers under a reorganisation announced late last year, a person familiar with the matter said yesterday. The layoffs are part of a cost-cutting plan GM announced in…

Ringgit to continue uptrend next week

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit’s upward momentum is expected to continue next week, with the currency forecast to hit the 4.00-level against the US dollar as risk appetite improves amid a weaker greenback and recovery in commodity prices.

Phillip Capital Management Malaysia senior vice-president (investment) Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said the ringgit and other emerging currencies were set to take advantage of the easier US dollar, which is currently under pressure after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) decided to keep its interest rate unchanged.

The unexpected dovish stance taken by Fed chairman Jerome H Powell on Wednesday, signalled a possible end to interest rate hikes and sent the regional foreign exchange market into a rally.

“It’s quite a dramatic reversal because we were expecting a hike, but they put it on hold. This is indeed a positive surprise. I think our ringgit will strengthen further,” he told Bernama, projecting the ringgit to trade between 4.00 and 4.05 next week.

Nazri Khan also said easing political tension over Brexit coupled with optimism that US-China trade resolution may be at hand, would lend support to sentiment next week.

A 30-person delegation from Beijing, led by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, arrived in Washington on Wednesday for two days of talks.

The White House is represented by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

It was reported that officials from both countries had a “good conversation” during the opening session.

During the holiday-shortened trading week, the ringgit finished at an almost three-week high of 4.0930/0980 against the US dollar on Thursday compared with 4.1225/1275 recorded last Friday, thanks to better demand and bullish trade data.

Malaysia’s total trade in 2018 remained resilient, expanding 5.9 per cent to RM1.876 trillion from RM1.771 trillion in 2017, due to stronger-than-expected export growth.

Meanwhile, the local currency was traded mostly lower against other major currencies.

The Malaysian market was closed on Friday for the Federal Territory Day.

It fell versus the Singapore dollar to 3.0409/0450 on Thursday from 3.0346/0385 last Friday, declined against the Japanese yen to 3.7699/7749 from 3.7542/7598 and weakened against the euro to 4.7000/0070 from 4.6704/6769.

However, the local currency rose vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.3688/3758 from 5.3935/4004 previously as market sentiment was weighed by the Brexit development. — Bernama

Expect a quiet equity market next week, FBM KLCI to retest 1,700 level

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia is expected to be quiet next week following the shortened trading week and with most investors likely absent ahead of the Chinese New Year celebration, analysts said.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd head of research Kenny Yee said the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) may also retest the 1,700 level next week in line with the positive market sentiment on Wall Street and regional markets.

“We saw during the week ended, smaller caps performing quite well and expect this to continue, backed by the positive inflow of foreign funds which recorded over RM900 million year-to-date.

“However, we also need to see how investors react to the outcome of the US-China trade negotiations,” Yee told Bernama.

Another analyst, Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew said February would see some seasonal corporate earnings results for the period ended Dec 31, 2018, which may be lacklustre, gauging from the majority of results released on Jan 29-30.

“Much of the corporate earnings recorded a decline due to a higher price-earnings (PE) ratio, which made stock prices more expensive.

“This also means that the share price was expensive compared with earnings per share. Earnings are not growing at par with the share price level,” he added.

However, he hoped there would be a reversal of fortunes among the listed companies in the forthcoming seasonal results.

Pong also commented that foreign participants recording a net inflow of RM1.2 billion into the country since Jan 9, was encouraging.

“This will help the equity market as foreign players are viewing emerging markets (EM) such as Malaysia to be attractive again.

“EM’s are fast becoming a global growth point and profits tends to grow faster. Even when EM’s bottom out, they can recover quickly. Besides, they are cheaper than the US markets,” he said.

Pong expects the FBM KLCI to rally between 1,720-1,730 with a limited downside as the composite index is still trapped within a narrow range and support is seen at the 1,650 level.

For the week just ended, the local bourse recorded a modestly low pattern, mainly influenced by external factors such as the trade talks between China and the US, the US Federal Reserve interest rates decision as well as slower growth of the Chinese economy.

The lower index was partially offset by the higher oil prices and positive foreign funds inflow.

On a Thursday-to-Friday basis, the benchmark FBM KLCI settled 17.50 points lower at 1,683.53.

The market was closed on Friday for the Federal Territory Day.

The FBM Emas Index was 125.34 points weaker at 11,660.62, the FBMT 100 Index decreased 123.65 points to 11,545.21 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index slid 173.12 points to 11,552.61.

The FBM 70 lost 163.08 points to 13,817.21 and the FBM Ace Index slipped 62.35 points to 4,402.10.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index dropped 121.56 points to 17,514.97, the Plantation Index shed 21.93 points to 7,280.24, and the Industrial Products and Services Index gave up 3.08 points to 161.11.

On a Thursday-to-Friday basis, the weekly turnover declined to 8.77 billion units worth RM8.13 billion against 10.23 billion units valued at RM8.22 billion.

Main Market volume decreased to 6.32 billion units valued at RM7.66 billion versus 7.60 billion units worth RM7.75 billion.

Warrants turnover marginally rose to 1.38 billion units worth RM301.90 million from 1.37 billion units valued at RM251.08 million.

The ACE Market volume was lower at 1.05 billion shares valued at RM152.46 million against 1.34 billion shares worth RM217.37 million.

The gold futures contract on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives is expected to trade higher next week as a weaker US dollar would help lift sentiment for the precious metal globally.

Speaking to Bernama, a dealer said the greenback would extend its losses next week following US Federal Reserve’s dovish stance, indicating its interest rate hike cycle could now be over.

On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep its key interest rates on hold after raising them four times last year.

For the shortened week just ended, the local gold futures market traded higher.

Comparing to last Friday, spot month January 2019 settled 69 ticks higher at RM173.95 a gramme on Thursday, while February 2019, March 2019 and April 2019 rose 40 ticks each to RM172.50, RM173.00 and RM173.10 a gramme, respectively.

The local market was closed on Friday for the Federal Territory Day.

Weekly turnover remained nil, while open interest was pegged at 23 contracts. — Bernama

‘Good vibe’ US-China trade talks followed by soybean purchases

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 — The US-China trade talks this week had a “good vibe” with much work remaining, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said yesterday as China followed through on a pledge to increase soybean purchases with orders of at…

Amazon jitters offset upbeat jobs data on Wall Street

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US job gains largest in 11 months; unemployment rate rises

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 — US job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite an uncertain outlook that has left the Federal Reserve wary about more interest rate…

Slight uptick in unemployment in Q4, but Singapore's labour market improved in 2018

SINGAPORE, Feb 2 — Although labour trends in the final quarter of last year were mixed, with a slight rise in unemployment rates from the previous quarter and the same period a year ago, the labour market improved on the whole last year….