PublicInvest Research

Author: PublicInvest   |   Latest post: Tue, 24 Nov 2020, 10:34 AM


PublicInvest Research Headlines - 21 Sept 2020

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US: Consumer sentiment improves much more than expected in Sept. After reporting an unexpected increase in US consumer sentiment in the previous month, the University of Michigan released a report showing consumer sentiment continued to improve in Sept. The preliminary report said the consumer sentiment index climbed to 78.9 in Sept from 74.1 in August. Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest uptick to 75.0. The index reached its highest level since March but is still well below the pre-pandemic reading of 101.0 seen in Feb. The much bigger than expected increase by the consumer sentiment index reflected improvements in consumers' assessment of current conditions as well as their outlook for the future. (RTT).

US: Leading economic index suggests rebound may be losing steam. Report released by the Conference Board showed a continued increase by its reading on leading US economic indicators in August, although the pace of growth slowed compared to recent months. The Conference Board said its leading economic index jumped by 1.2% in August after surging up by 2.0% in July and spiking by 3.1% in June. Economists had expected the index to increase by 1.3%. Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board, said the slowdown in the pace of improvement "suggests that this summer's economic rebound may be losing steam heading into the final stretch of 2020." (RTT)

EU: Current account surplus falls in July. The euro area current account surplus declined in July due to a fall in primary income, the ECB reported. The current account surplus decreased to a seasonally adjusted EUR17bn from EUR21bn in June. In the same period last year, the surplus was EUR24bn. The surplus on goods trade rose to EUR30bn from EUR25bn a month ago and that on services climbed to EUR5bn from EUR4bn. The primary income showed a negative balance of EUR6bn versus a +EUR2bn in June. (RTT)

UK: Retail sales rise for fourth straight month. UK retail sales grew for the fourth straight month in August surpassing the pre pandemic level, data from the Office for National Statistics showed. Retail sales volume increased 0.8% MoM in August, but slower than July's 3.7% increase. This was the fourth consecutive monthly rise. Sales were forecast to climb 0.7%. When compared with Feb 2020's pre-pandemic level, total retail sales were 4.0% higher in volume terms. Retail sales continued to grow, further surpassing their pre pandemic level," Jonathan Athow, deputy ONS national statistician for economic statistics, said. (RTT)

China: Economy remains resilient despite external risks, says Xi. China's economy remains resilient and there are ample policy tools at Beijing's disposal despite rising external risks, President Xi Jinping said. China has steadily recovered from a virus-induced slump, but analysts say policymakers face a tough job to maintain stable expansion over the next several years to turn China into a high-income nation. "The basic characteristics of China's economy with sufficient potential, great resilience, strong vitality, large space for manoeuvre and many policy instruments have not changed," Xi said. (Reuters)


Icon: Bruneian unit clinches chartering contract. Icon Offshore’s wholly-owned Brunei unit Icon Bahtera (B) SB has secured a chartering contract from Zell Transportation SB (ZT) for the supply of offshore support vessels and chartering services. While Icon did not disclose the value of the contract, it said it is expected to contribute positively to the group’s earnings, order book and net assets for the FYE Dec 31, 2021 and beyond. Icon said the charter duration for both Valiant and Aliza is for a primary contract duration of six years, with two extension options of one year each. (The Edge)

Ho Wah Genting: Inks 3 agreements for Covid-19 vaccine study. Ho Wah Genting's (HWG) JV partner US-based E-MO Biology Inc (EBI), inked three agreements for research and development (R&D) for a potential Covid-19 vaccine. "These agreements bring in the needed expertise that will help boost the clinical trials that must be conducted in accordance with US laws. (Business Times)

Ta Win: Incorporates new healthcare unit, strengthens downstream copper segment. Ta Win Holdings announced the incorporation of Ta Win Copper Biohealth SB (TWCBiohealth) as part of its long-term strategy to explore the downstream copper segment. Group MD Datuk Seri Ngu Tieng Ung said the company aims to expand its operations by looking into the application of antimicrobial copper and copper additives as well as the biochemistry and chemistry of copper and copper proteins, be it in terms of products, devices or services. (Business Times)

Scientex: Proposes bonus shares, free warrants after posting record high FY20 profit. Scientex is proposing a bonus share issuance involving two bonus shares for every one Scientex share held (two-for-one), as well as free warrants on the basis of one free warrant for every five shares held (one-forfive), at an entitlement date to be announced later. The bonus issuance will involve up to 1.03bn new shares. For the full FY20, Scientex's net profit rose 17% to a record high of RM390.1m. The group has declared a final dividend of 13 sen per share, which will be paid on Jan 13, 2021. (The Edge)

Amanah Harta Tanah: PNB to take private at RM1 per unit. Permodalan Nasional (PNB) intends to take Amanah Harta Tanah PNB (AHP) private via a selective unit redemption (SUR) exercise, in which the minority unitholders will receive RM1 per unit. The offer price of RM1 is at a 50.3% premium over the last traded price of 66.5 sen. (The Edge)

Auto (Neutral): New vehicles in Aug 2020 rises 3.2% to 52,800 units – MAA. Malaysia's new car sales in Aug 2020 grew 3.2% YoY to 52,800 units from 51,148 units registered a year ago. The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) said the higher sale of new vehicles in Aug was mainly contributed by the passenger vehicles (PVs) with a total of 47,591 units or 1.7% higher or 46,802 units recorded in Aug 2019. (Business Times)

Market Update

US markets fell again last Friday as investors continued to dispose of their technology-based holdings. US-China tensions also weighed on sentiment, with the US government saying that it would block all TikTok and WeChat downloads in the country on Sunday. Wall Street also remains on edge over the outlook on further coronavirus stimulus and the timing of a viable vaccine. On the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9%. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell 1.1%. European markets were weighed by a rise in new coronavirus cases across the continent, with prospects of economic recoveries threatened by possible reimplementation of lockdown measures in certain regions. France registered a record 10,593 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest single-day count since the pandemic began, while talks of a second lockdown were making the rounds in Britain with hospital admissions doubling every eight days. On the data front, British retail sales rose by 0.8% in August, slightly outpacing expectations. France’s CAC 40 led major markets lower with a 1.2% drop. Germany’s DAX and UK’s FTSE 100 both fell 0.7%. Asian markets were mostly higher despite renewed pressure on the tech sector. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2.1% higher as the Yuan also held onto recent gains against the US Dollar. The Hang Seng Index and Nikkei 225 gained 0.5% and 0.2%.

Icon Offshore’s wholly-owned Bruneian unit Icon Bahtera (B) Sdn Bhd has secured a chartering contract from Zell Transportation Sdn Bhd to supply offshore support vessels and chartering services. Amanah Harta PNB will be taken private by Permodalan Nasional Bhd via a selective unit redemption exercise, where minority unitholders will receive RM1 per unit, a 50.3% premium over the 66.5sen it last traded at.

Source: PublicInvest Research - 21 Sept 2020

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