global growth


US stocks rise as trade talks lift hopes

NEW YORK, Feb 22 — US stocks rose at the open today, with spirits buoyed by hopes for progress in high-stakes US-China trade negotiations. The positive start to the day followed yesterday’s dip on fears of declining global growth after a batch…

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on global growth slowdown worries; Indonesia worst hit

Indonesia led losses as most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Friday, as worries of a global growth slowdown continued to hamper investor sentiment, while Vietnam continued to rise for the fifth straight session.

Investors are also exercising caution amid trade talks between the U.S. and China with the tit-for-tat tariffs between the world’s two largest economic powers having already disrupted international trade and slowed the global economy since the trade war started several months ago.

“Slowing global growth is underway, evidenced by falling exports growth in trade-sensitive countries… An improved US-China relation may not provide an immediate boost to demand against the backdrop of peaking trade growth,” said Zhu Huani, an economist at Mizuho Bank said in a note.

The Indonesian benchmark dropped 0.7 percent, leading losses in the region, following the central bank’s decision to hold key rate on Thursday. But for the week, the index is set to snap two straight weeks of losses.

Indonesia’s central bank kept interest rates on hold on Thursday and said it was looking at ways to boost loan growth.

Financial and consumer stocks dragged the index with Telekom Indonesia and Bank Negara Indonesia falling 1 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Malaysian stocks fell 0.6 percent, ahead of the country’s January inflation data to be released later today. The index is, however, set to post its third consecutive weekly gain.

Malaysia’s consumer prices are expected to fall in January, the first decline in nearly a decade, amid a drop in domestic fuel prices, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

The central bank however, said last week that the country was not at risk of deflationary pressure. The index was dragged by losses in healthcare and telecom stocks, with IHH Healthcare Bhd and Maxis Bhd shedding as much as 1.7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

Singapore’s index shed 0.5 percent after the country’s second-biggest listed lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd posted disappointing quarterly financial earnings.

OCBC missed market estimates with a 10 percent drop in quarterly profit, due to a weak performance in its insurance business.

Shares of OCBC dropped as much as 2.2 percent, while those of its peer United Overseas Bank Ltd dipped as much 2.2 percent.

The Vietnam index continued to surge for the fifth straight day and rose 0.4 percent, with gains concentrated in financial stocks. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam rose 2.8 percent.

Meanwhile, Philippine stocks edged marginally higher.

Weak US data underscore growing headwinds to economy

WASHINGTON, Feb 22 — New orders for key US-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in December amid declining demand for machinery and primary metals, pointing to a sustained slowdown in business spending on equipment that could further crimp…

Wall Street breaks run of gains as economic data disappoints

NEW YORK, Feb 22 — Weak economic reports pressured US stocks yesterday after the market's recent run of gains, and a drop in healthcare shares added to the bearish momentum. The Commerce Department said new orders for key US-made capital goods…

PBOC sees benchmark rate cut as last resort, may use other tools

BEIJING: China’s central bank is not yet ready to cut benchmark interest rates to spur the slowing economy, despite cooling inflation and a stronger yuan, which have fanned market expectations of such a move, policy sources told Reuters. But the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is likely to cut market-based rates and further lower banks’ […]

Corporate earnings unlikely to excite stock market: Affin Hwang AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Corporate earnings delivery will not significantly influence the Malaysian capital market this year as catalysts are expected to come from the external front, according to Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd (Affin Hwang AM).

Its managing director, Teng Chee Wai, said for 2019, the company expects a single-digit upside in the FBM KLCI at around 8% to 10%, partly buoyed by recovery in global growth as the economic cycle matures.

“2019 is a year that the markets are going to respond more towards macro policies rather than earnings. And I do not see price-earnings expansion to be one big factor this year for the market because there is a very little growth,” he told a press conference after presenting Affin Hwang AM market outlook and company briefing here today.

“With 5% in (consensus) earnings (estimates) growth, I don’t expect this year to be a double-digit year (for the FBM KLCI),” he said, noting downward revisions in earnings are likely if there is slowdown in global economic activities.

Asked whether 2019 is a good year to invest in stocks, Teng warned of risks and uncertainties in the market such as the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China.

“There is no such thing as the best time to invest … you must be mindful of the risks, and asset allocation is the way forward,” he added.

Nevertheless, Teng said given the positive development in the US-China trade talks, coupled with changes in policy by the Federal Reserve, he is fairly confident that the market will improve at some point in the second half of the year.

On Affin Hwang AM’s outlook, Teng said the fund manager is confident that it will surpass the RM50 billion mark in assets under administration (AUA) this year and reach the RM52 billion level.

He said the firm’s AUA grew 0.84% or RM400 million to RM47.8 billion as at end of 2018 from RM47.4 billion in late 2017.

Earlier at the press conference, Affin Hwang AM’s Islamic entity, Aiiman Asset Management Sdn Bhd, launched its maiden fund called Aiiman Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) Dividend Fund, which marks its foray into the retail market.

Aiiman managing director Akmal Hassan said the fund is suitable for retail investors who want regular income distribution and capital gains, and have a medium- to long-term investment horizon and moderate risk tolerance.

The fund will invest a minimum of 70% of the fund’s net asset value (NAV) in syariah-compliant equities and a maximum of 30% of its NAV in sukuk, syariah-compliant money market instruments and/or deposits.

The base currency of the fund is in ringgit with a minimum investment amount of RM1,000.

Crunch time as high-level US-China trade talks resume

WASHINGTON, Feb 21 — With eight days left in their trade truce, top US and Chinese officials were due today to return to the daunting task of bridging a chasm between the world’s two largest economies. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly…

Heineken’s 2018 net profit up 4.6%

PETALING JAYA: Heineken Malaysia Bhd, which posted a 4.6% jump in its net profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2018 (FY18), remains cautious about its outlook given the challenging environment due to intense competition, implementation of the sales & service tax (SST), and the continued presence of contraband beer in the market.

In line with rising global commodity prices, the group also expects an increase in cost of operations including raw materials and packaging.

Finance director Szilard Voros said how the group will perform in FY19 also depend on the market, adding that it will benefit if consumers remain optimistic and if efforts to curb illicit trade are stepped up.

“But we remain cautious because SST was just introduced in September so that also comes with a lag… we also need to see how things settle down after Chinese New Year and see what is the normalised performance and if there’s a growth continuation,” he told reporters at a media and analyst briefing today after announcing the group’s financial results.

Managing director Roland Bala (pix) said the external environment remains challenging. Amidst slowing global growth rates, currency volatility and uncertainty in the commodity markets, he said the group will need to adopt a cautious approach in cost management.

“Moving forward, we will continue to invest in our core brands and leverage on our portfolio. As consumer taste profile changes, we will make bets on brands that we believe will have scale,” he added.

Heineken’s net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2019 grew 6.8% to RM100 million compared with RM93.64 million in the same quarter last year due to higher revenue as well as efficient and effective management of commercial spend and overheads.

Group revenue grew 12.3% to RM662.28 million as compared to RM589.96 million in the same quarter in 2017 mainly due to increase in sales volume driven by the flagship Tiger brand.

For the full year period, net profit grew 4.6% to RM282.2 million from RM270.06 million a year ago, while revenue rose 8.3% to RM2.03 billion from RM1.87 billion.

It has proposed a final dividend of 54 sen per share for the quarter under review, bringing the full-year dividend payout to 94 sen.

Germany, with bumper current account surplus, frets about car tariffs

BERLIN, Feb 19 — Germany recorded the world’s largest current account surplus for the third year running in 2018 due to strong exports that are vexing US President Donald Trump and raising the risk of US tariffs on German cars. Germany’s…

Germany sees ‘most difficult part’ in EU-US trade talks ahead

BERLIN, Feb 19 — The most difficult part in trade negotiations between Europe and the United States is starting now and talks should focus on reducing tariffs on industrial goods to increase the chances of a deal, German Economy Minister Peter…