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Author: PublicInvest   |   Latest post: Wed, 12 May 2021, 9:06 AM

 

PublicInvest Research Headlines - 12 Mar 2021

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Economy

US: Jobless claims hit lowest since Nov with more vaccines . Applications for US jobless benefits fell by more than forecast last week to the lowest since early Nov, as Covid-19 vaccinations accelerated and states eased more business restrictions. Initial claims in regular state programs fell by 42,000 to 712,000 in the week ended March 6, Labor Department data showed. On an unadjusted basis, the claims decreased by 47,170 to 709,458. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey had called for 725,000 initial claims. Continuing claims declined by 193,000 to 4.14m in the week ended Feb 27. At the same time, claims in federal programs ballooned as of Feb 20, including a more than one million surge in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program for self-employed and gig workers. (Bloomberg)

EU: German IWH institute cuts German 2021 GDP forecast . Germany’s IWH economic institute cut its 2021 growth forecast for Europe’s largest economy to 3.7% from 4.4% in December as the country risks a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. “Especially for Germany, there is a danger that the steps decided at the beginning of March to open up (the economy) will trigger a third wave of infection,” the Halle-based institute said. The institute was nonetheless more upbeat about the economy’s prospects this year than the government, which is forecasting 2021 growth of 3%, after a 4.9% slump last year. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has warned of the risk of a third wave of coronavirus infections in Germany. (Reuters)

EU: ECB to accelerate bond purchases in 2Q . The ECB said that it will step up its emergency bond purchases over the next quarter based on market conditions and left its key interest rates unchanged. The Governing Council, led by ECB President Christine Lagarde, left the size of the pandemic emergency purchase program, or PEPP, unchanged at EUR1,850bn and said these will continue until at least the end of March 2022 or when the coronavirus crisis phase is over. "Based on a joint assessment of financing conditions and the inflation outlook, the Governing Council expects purchases under the PEPP over the next quarter to be conducted at a significantly higher pace than during the first months of this year," the bank said. (RTT)

UK: Spending climbed in early March - ONS . Britons have picked up the pace of their spending after a plunge at the start of the year when the country went back into a third coronavirus lockdown, data showed. Spending based on debit and credit card purchases handled by the Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) rose by 10 percentage points the week to March 4 to stand at 83% of its Feb 2020 average, the Office for National Statistics said. “Since the substantial fall in spending at the beginning of 2021 that followed the Christmas period and introduction of national lockdowns across the UK, the CHAPS-based indicator of debit and credit card purchases has increased in all four consumption categories,” the ONS said. Britain’s economy is expected to shrink by about 4% in the first three months of 2021 before recovering as the country makes fast progress with its COVID-19 vaccination programme. (Reuters)

China: Auto sales surge four-fold in Feb, 11th straight monthly gain . Auto sales in China, the world’s biggest auto market, surged 365% in Feb over the same month a year earlier for their 11th month of gains, as the country leads the global industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales reached 1.46m vehicles in Feb, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed. A year ago, China’s auto sales were hit hard by nationwide travel curbs over the pandemic. But the market started to bounce back in the second quarter, along with the rest of the economy, as the coronavirus was largely brought under control. CAAM expects vehicle sales to rise by about 4% this year, but has warned that a shortage of certain auto chips may start to hit production at some Chinese firms at the beginning of the year. (Reuters)

China: Targets stable growth with focus on new jobs, Li says . China is prioritizing stable economic growth and the creation of new jobs as its main goals for 2021, with the nation needing sustainable expansion, not large fluctuations, Premier Li Keqiang said. “We would certainly be happy to see robust growth, but we are also keenly aware of the large uncertainty around the economic rebound in China as well as global economic growth and development,” Li told reporters in Beijing at the conclusion of the annual National People’s Congress. The growth goal of more than 6% “is not a low target,” he said. After a rapid economic recovery from last year’s pandemic slump, the government set a modest growth target for 2021 that was well below the 8.4% expansion economists predict. The conservative figure gives officials space to curb financial risks and focus on longer-term ambitions, like developing hi-tech industries and supporting consumer spending. (Bloomberg)

Japan: Producer prices rise 0.4% on month in February . Producer prices in Japan were up 0.4% on month in February, the Bank of Japan said. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 0.5% and was unchanged from the Jan reading. On a yearly basis, producer prices sank 0.7% - in line with expectations following the 1.6% decline in the previous month. Export prices were up 1.4% on month and 0.3% on year, the bank said, while import prices jumped 4.1% on month but lost 3.5% on year. (RTT)

Markets

Minetech: Gets extension of contract works worth RM70m. Minetech Resources has bagged a contract extension worth RM70m for waste removal, ore delivery and associated works for open pit mining at the Selinsing Gold Mine Project. The group said it had entered into an agreement with Able Return SB and Damar Consolidated Exploration SB for the contract renewal. Under the agreement, the contract will be extended for 36 months to June 30, 2023. (The Edge)

MISC: Wins seven-year charter contracts from Shell for three crude carriers. MISC has secured seven-year charter contracts from Shell for three newbuilding crude carriers, for operations in international waters. MISC said the contracts were secured by AET Inc Ltd, the vessel-owning entity of petroleum shipping firm AET Tanker Holdings SB, which is in turn whollyowned by MISC. The three vessels are LNG dual fuel very large crude carriers (VLCCs), which will serve Shell’s unit Shell Tankers (Singapore) Pvt Ltd from the 3Q23, it said. (The Edge)

DNeX: Bags three-year national single window contract extension. Dagang NeXchange (DNeX) announced that its unit has been granted an extension contract for a period of three years to operate the National Single Window (NSW) for trade facilitation. It has received a letter from the government regarding the contract extension from Sept 1, 2021 for the NSW. “Under the contract extension, the company will continue to provide six core e-Services of the NSW for trade facilitation n providing the trading community with connectivity to Customs and relevant agencies for import and export document processing. (The Edge)

Aimflex: Commits to dividend policy of at least 30% of profit. Aimflex has committed to adopting a dividend policy of at least 30% of profit for each financial year, according to its executive chairman Datuk Dr Awang Daud Awang Putera. Awang said the dividend payout ratio of at least 30% of the PAT excludes any unrealised income from adjustments due to accounting policies that are non-cash in nature. The group has announced an interim dividend of 0.25 sen per share for FY20. (The Edge)

ACO Group: To distribute electrical supplies for solar industry. ACO Group is expanding its product range to include electrical supplies for the growing solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. It has received its maiden solar PV project order of USD1.41m (RM5.84m) from EV Connection SB (EVC). EVC to supply solar panels and inverters for its 6MW solar PV commercial and industrial buildings projects. It said the company have been growing its geographical presence across Malaysia, distribution channels and enlisted a network of multinational brands as its vendors. (NST)

Bintai Kinden: To supply freezer boxes to store Covid-19 vaccine. Bintai Kinden has inked a deal to supply Greenie Medi cold chain box for the storage and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia. The company today entered into a MoU to supply the cold chain box to Alrowad Medical Services (AMS). Bintai Kinden MD Ong Choon Lui said the collaboration with AMS would augur well for the group as Saudi Arabia had recently rolled out nationwide coronavirus vaccination with AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. (NST)

Market Update

The S&P 500 closed at another record-high overnight after President Joe Biden signed into effect the USD1.9trn stimulus bill. A rebound in technology shares also helped drive markets higher. Investors also cheered a slightly better-than-expected reading on weekly jobless claims that showed a decline in the number of first time applicants. On the day, the Dow gained 0.5% (+188.6pts), though paring gains of almost 300pts earlier in the day. The S&P 500 rose 1.0% as the Nasdaq Composite outperformed with a 2.5% gain. European equities were also higher as the European Central Bank vowed to increase its bond-buying amid rising borrowing costs on the continent. They opted to leave the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program unchanged at a total of €1.85tln however. Both Germany’s DAX and UK’s FTSE 100 inched 0.2% higher while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.7%. Asian markets extended rebound from two-month lows as US consumer price data soothed inflationary fears as Treasury yields also eased. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 0.6% higher. The Shanghai Composite Index and Hang Seng indices surged 2.4% and 1.5% meanwhile.

Dagang NeXchange has been granted an extension contract for a period of three years to operate the National Single Window for trade facilitation. Minetech Resources has secured a contract extension worth RM70m for waste removal, ore delivery and associated works for open pit mining at the Selinsing Gold Mine Project.

Source: PublicInvest Research - 12 Mar 2021

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