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MSAM 2019: PM to officially launch PNB's annual flagship event tomorrow

SUNGAI PETANI, April 20 — Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) flagship event, the Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia (MSAM), which enters its 20th edition this year, will be officially launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad tomorrow. The…


Ringgit to rise next week on Bandar Malaysia revival, positive CPI data

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is likely to trade higher next week, ranging from 4.10-4.15 against the US dollar, spurred by improved risk appetite for the local currency amid growing optimism over the recovery in global economic growth, dealers said.

The resumption of Bandar Malaysia project coupled with the anticipation of favourable March inflation data, which would give less pressure to Bank Negara Malaysia to make an adjustment to the interest rate, would lift sentiment for the ringgit, a dealer said.

“This will definitely boost appetite for the ringgit next week especially among foreign fund managers. Plus, given the currency’s recent depreciation, I think a buying spree might take place,” he told Bernama.

On Friday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the government would reinstate the Bandar Malaysia project, which was abruptly terminated in May 2017. The proposed development in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur, is expected to have a gross development value of RM140 billion.

He said Bandar Malaysia would have a significant impact on Malaysia’s economy and would serve as a global hub to further attract high impact global finance, technology and entrepreneurial firms.

“It will draw major international financial institutions, multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies to locate their regional headquarters in Bandar Malaysia.

“In addition, tech giants such as Alibaba and Huawei have also manifested interest to establish their ICT (information and communications technology) centres,” he told a news conference on Friday.

Meanwhile, FXTM market analyst Han Tan said the March inflation data, due on Wednesday, would show whether prices had rebounded from the “deflation” recorded in the first two months of the year, whereby a meaningful return to inflationary territory could offset the ringgit’s weakness against the US dollar.

“Overall, we expect Malaysia’s price pressures to remain manageable throughout 2019, allowing domestic consumption to continue driving growth,” he said in a commentary.

Tan said the country’s robust fundamentals would continue supporting the ringgit.

For the week just ended, the ringgit traded mostly lower against the US dollar and hit a near three-month low of 4.1330/1360 against the US dollar on Wednesday following concerns over news that Malaysia might be dropped from the FTSE World Government Bond Index and the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund’s holdings.

The sell-off in the foreign exchange market lasted for two days but the market recovered on Friday as concerns eased.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit fell to 4.1300/1350 against the US dollar from 4.1120/1170 previously.

It also contracted against the Singapore dollar to 3.0473/0514 from 3.0367/0406 previously and versus the Japanese yen to 3.6898/6949 from 3.6744/6798.

However, the ringgit climbed against the British pound to 5.3707/3792 from 5.3760/3842 and strengthened vis-a-vis the euro to 4.6446/6506 from 4.6519/6596 previously. — Bernama


Net foreign selling continues for third consecutive week

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Malaysia continued to experience net foreign selling for the third consecutive week as investors shifted their asset allocation into safe havens such as bonds and money market. This was due to the bearish scenario in the…


Ekovest, IWCity shares surge on fresh optimism over mega projects

PETALING JAYA: Tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo-linked Ekovest Bhd and Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity) emerged as the most active stocks on Bursa Malaysia today, driven by market optimism over the possible revival of mega projects.

IWCity’s parent company Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH), together with China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd (CREC) were the winners of the Bandar Malaysia project before their status as the master developer was scrapped in May 2017.

Ekovest’s share price has been on the rise since the end of March, gaining 27% from its closing price of 50 sen on March 29. Today, the stock soared as much as 19.3% to 65 sen before closing 16.51% higher at 63.5 sen.

IWCity’s share price has also seen strong buying momentum over the past few weeks, rising 46.38% from its closing price of 32 sen on March 28. The stock rose to an intra-day high of RM1.10 and closed 18.13% higher at RM1.01 today.

Ekovest was the most active stock on the bourse with 196.90 million shares traded, followed by Ekovest-WB which saw 184.32 million shares changing hands. IWCity was the third most heavily traded stock with 151.03 million shares traded.

This comes after a rally in construction and building materials stocks on hopes of the revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) projects.

MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd has disclosed plans to appoint a consultant to review the technical aspects of the HSR project’s cost-reduction options.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said the government is looking at proposals aimed at reducing the cost of the HSR, which will be discussed further with Singapore before the end of the project suspension period on May 31, 2020.

Meanwhile, negotiations on the ECRL are expected to be concluded before Mahathir leaves to attend the Belt and Road Forum that starts on April 26 in China.

Latest developments on these two projects have in turn driven optimism in the market on the possible revival of Bandar Malaysia.

Bandar Malaysia is a mixed development with an estimated gross development value of RM160 billion. The transit-oriented development was planned as a transport hub connecting the HSR, MRT, KTM Komuter and Express Rail Link networks.

In May 2017, TRX City Sdn Bhd, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the Finance Ministry, announced that the sale of its 60% interest in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd had lapsed after IWH CREC Sdn Bhd’s failure to meet the payment obligations outlined in the conditions precedent under the share sale agreement, despite repeated extensions being granted.

IWH CREC was a 60:40 joint venture between IWH and CREC.

After the Pakatan Harapan government came into the power, Ministry of Finance special officer Tony Pua has said there was no interest in the government’s call for tender proposals for the Bandar Malaysia project.


Bursa Malaysia ends lower for second straight day

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Bursa Malaysia ended lower for two consecutive days today amid selling in key heavyweights on risk aversion due to external factors. At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) went down 2.48 points to…


Bursa Malaysia ends lower for 2nd straight day

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended lower for two consecutive days today amid selling in key heavyweights on risk aversion due to external factors.

At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) went down 2.48 points to 1,639.46 from 1,641.94 yesterday, following losses in PetChem, Axiata, Malaysia Airports and Maybank.

The index, which opened 0.11 of-a-point lower at 1,641.83, fluctuated between 1,635.89 and 1,642.13 throughout today’s session.

However, market breadth was positive as gainers outpaced losers by 441 to 371, while 417 counters remained unchanged, 640 untraded and 21 others suspended.

Volume fell to 3.34 billion units worth RM2.36 billion from 3.47 billion units worth RM2.37 billion recorded yesterday.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said regional markets were also mostly lower today.

“External factors continued to dominate market sentiments. The latest salvo from US President Donald Trump against Europe in the form of tariff on US$11 billion of imports suggests trade war has yet to be resolved.

“This happens despite constructive discussions between the US and China recently,“ he told Bernama.

Additionally, the downward revision in global growth forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also spooked the markets.

The IMF has trimmed global gross domestic product growth in 2019 to 3.3% from previous forecast of 3.5% projected in January this year.

“The ongoing trade friction is obviously the main key risks factors alongside the uncertain fate on Brexit negotiation.

“As such, expect risk aversion to be prevalent in the immediate term,“ Mohd Afzanizam added.

Among the heavyweights, PetChem lost 10 sen to RM9.00, Axiata was down four sen to RM4.15, Malaysia Airports slipped 19 sen to RM6.75 and Maybank eased two sen to RM9.28.

Public Bank rose six sen to RM22.64 and IHH Healthcare added four sen to RM5.60.

Among actives, construction companies, Ekovest went up nine sen to 64.5 sen and Iskandar Waterfront rose 15.5 sen to RM1.01 on possible revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said Malaysia was exploring proposals to reduce the project cost.

Meanwhile, Sapura Energy was unchanged at 34 sen and Karex gained six sen to 53 sen.

The FBM Emas Index declined 5.01 points to 11,635.04, the FBMT 100 was 13.39 points lower at 11,457.14 and the FBM 70 shed 1.31 points to 14,594.21.

Meanwhile, the FBM Emas Syariah Index inched up 0.21 of-a-point to 11,861.09 and the FBM Ace Index rose 20.79 points to 4,802.02.

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index declined 0.37 of-a-point to 169.96, the Plantation Index improved 10.66 points to 7,297.00, while the Financial Services Index perked up 12.82 points to 16,860.09.

Main Market volume decreased to 2.55 billion shares worth RM2.18 billion from 2.65 billion shares worth RM2.20 billion yesterday.

Warrants turnover went down to 444.8 million units valued at RM97.7 million compared with 467.8 million units valued at RM99.5 million previously.

Volume on the ACE Market dropped to 344 million shares worth RM82.3 million versus 348 million shares worth RM66.3 million on Tuesday.

Consumer products and services accounted for 327.4 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (400.3 million), construction (567.9 million), technology (251.6 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (42.2 million), property (330 million), plantation (69 million), REITs (12.5 million), closed/fund (122,800), energy (423.1 million), healthcare (22.9 million), telecommunications and media (31 million), transportation and logistics (30.7 million), and utilities (40.1 million).

The physical price of gold as at 5pm stood at RM166.44 per gramme, up 75 sen from RM165.69 at 5pm yesterday. — Bernama


Islamic banking players must invest in technology, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Islamic banking and finance players must be intensely invested in technologies to transform the way they conduct banking services and disseminate their products more effectively and efficiently. In making the call, Prime…


Rail boost for construction, building materials stocks

PETALING JAYA: The recent headlines on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) projects are putting construction and building materials stocks on the radar of investors on Bursa Malaysia.

Some construction and building materials companies have seen their share prices rally since Monday after MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd revealed its plans to appoint a technical advisory consultant to review the technical aspects of the HSR project’s cost-reduction options.

The HSR, which is currently on hold, could be revived as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the government is looking at proposals aimed at reducing the cost of the project. It will be discussed further with Singapore before the end of the suspension period on May 31, 2020.

Notably, negotiations on the ECRL, which has been suspended due to its escalating price tag, are expected to be concluded by the end of this month, before Mahathir leaves for China for the Belt and Road Forum that starts on April 26.

Among the top gainers on Bursa Malaysia today were George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd, Ann Joo Resources Bhd-PA (preference shares) and Ann Joo Resources, which rose 11.67%, 18.18% and 4.54% to RM1.34, 65 sen and RM1.84, respectively.

Other construction and building materials counters that saw heavy buying included cement producer Lafarge Malaysia Bhd, Advancecon Holdings Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, Ajiya Bhd and Tasek Corp Bhd which increased 2.41%, 5.62%, 1.3%, 1.83% and 0.55% to RM2.55, 47 sen, RM2.33, 55.5 sen and RM5.53, respectively.

“The KL Construction index has rebounded 33% from a low base year to date and from here the trend will be sustained when ECRL, HSR all come back to life,” Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice-president of research Vincent Lau told SunBiz.

“We have been advocating the construction sector since February during our market outlook. Sentiment driven with the news of mega infrastructure projects headlines (are) driving the stock price now,” he added.

The proposed 350km HSR track between Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and Jurong East in Singapore includes six stations in between – Putrajaya, Seremban, Air Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Putri. The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore would be about 90 minutes with the travelling speed exceeding 300 kilometres per hour.

For the ECRL, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook has confirmed that its alignment will be rerouted to benefit Negri Sembilan when it resumes after negotiations with the Chinese government at the end of this month. The new construction cost for the ECRL is expected to be much lower than the initial cost of RM81 billion.


Entrepreneurship framework to be launched in July

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The National Entrepreneurship Framework (NEF), which the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development began developing in late 2018, is expected to be launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in July, says SME Corporation…


Sapura Aerospace Technologies to build RM100m hi-tech facility

LANGKAWI, March 26 — Sapura Aerospace Technologies, a joint venture between Sapura Industrial Bhd and two Japanese aerospace companies, will be investing RM100 million over the next five years to build a high-technology facility on a 2.02-hectare…