Barefoot Investor: July 2011

How much money do we consider enough? I've been thinking of this question many times before. But I don't really know how to actually answer it. Shall I say, RM100,000? RM300,000? or even RM1 million? What about you?

I realized my buying power as a consumer now, is becoming lesser and lesser. Not because without the money to pay for the things, but is because my Ringgit Malaysia (RM)100 now only enable me to buy few items compared to 2 years back? That is so scary. If it is inflation, what happened to the value of Malaysia Ringgit? Is Ringgit  Malaysia depreciate compared to USD $? I don't think so. Coz, everytime when I read the newspaper it doesn't mentioned that ringgit malaysia is depreciate, instead it appreciate and become stronger , inflow of foreign funds is greater than before.

Wait a minute... Ringgit Malaysia become stronger? You got to be kidding.
But why the consumers purchasing power is so poor. For example, today I went to this normal coffee shop for a lunch meal. Price for economy rice no longer RM4, instead RM5.50 and some more with just 3 choice of dishes. 2 vegetables mixed cooked, and 1 meat (chicken mixed fry). So few choice here and the food quality is not to the standard though..

What about going to luxury place? Say to a cafe/restaurant? Eg I went to this western food restaurant nearby my house before. The price for just a normal Thai fried rice, or even lamb chop with french fries now cost RM28.00++ exclude govt and service tax. Why is it so expensive? If judge by its environment, it is just a normal restaurant to me, with a cooling fan and nice wallpaper. That's it. Nothing more.

So, right now. I've been always thinking on How much money is consider enough to me and for each of you? Can you specifically know the exact amount of money you should have, in order to say. Okay. That's it. I am done. I have earned enough and rich enough to buy everything and satisfied with it..... Can you?
For me, I can't really decide it....


Top banks in the European Union will have to tell their supervisors how many staff earn more than a million euros a year, draft proposals showed on Thursday.

The European Banking Authority launched a public consultation on draft rules that will require national supervisors to collect details on pay each year to check whether the bloc's curbs on upfront cash bonuses are being implemented.

No banker would be named, and the focus is on large, cross-border banks or major domestic ones. The aim is to discourage bankers from taking excessive risks to earn a bigger bonus. (Reuters)


Hong Kong's billionaires are finding it harder to buy peace and quiet these days.

After years of turning a blind eye, the government this month issued regulations demanding tycoons move the imposing gates of their luxurious estates closer to home, and out of publicly-owned land such as that lining the roads in this space starved city of seven million people.

Those affected by the order include Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho and Peter Woo, chairman of property and infrastructure focused Wharf Holdings.

“We consider it as a breach of the land lease,” said Teresa Sair of the Lands Department.

The Hong Kong authorities appear to be on a drive to appease an increasingly agitated public, frustrated with soaring property prices and the government's cozy relationship with major property developers.

Over the past few months, government officials have targeted individuals who have built houses with “illegal structures” on public land. Lawmakers have also been lambasted for erecting rooftop glasshouses on their homes without permits.

Now the billionaires are taking a hit. The government had set a July 27 deadline for the removal of the offending gates, but the South China Morning Post reported that only two of six targeted tycoons have obliged, or shown a willingness to do so.

The paper said that Woo, of Wharf Holdings, is one of the tycoons who is making preparations to remove gates at his two estates in Sheko, an exclusive beach side district in Hong Kong located on the south side of the island.

Gambling kingpin Ho, however, has yet to comply with the order, as has Sino Land chairman Robert Ng, Central Development's chairman Hui Saifun, and Tong Yunkai, president of the Confucian Academy, the paper added. (Reuters)


OCBC Investment Research has raised its target price on DBS (DBSM.SI), Southeast Asia’s largest bank, to $17.80 from $16.00 and maintained its buy rating.

OCBC has raised its 2011 net earnings estimate for DBS to S$2.98 billion from $2.85 million, to account for a more stable net interest margin.
DBS posted second quarter net profit of $735 million, against a net loss of $300 million a year earlier.
The brokerage reported that DBS’s Hong Kong operation is expected to continue growing and its results are reflective of the bank’s strategy to use Hong Kong as a base for its Greater China operations.
“While the uncertainty in the global market is likely to persist, we are of the view that it should not significantly impact DBS’s earnings in Singapore and Hong Kong,” OCBC said in a statement.
At 10:10 a.m., DBS shares were up 0.9% at $15.47. The stock has risen about 8% since the start of the year. (The Edge Singapore)


Temasek Formation Sdn Bhd has proposed to acquire the entire interests including all assets and liabilities of JOTECH HOLDINGS BHD [, AIC CORPORATION BHD  and AutoV Corporation Bhd for RM696 million with a view to merger the companies to create a larger entity.

The company plans to create a larger group in terms of market capitalisation, streamline the multi-tiered shareholding structure as well as unlock potential intrinsic values of the target companies.

The merger would be executed via the issuance of new Temasek Fomation shares to existing shareholders of AIC, Jotech and AutoV as well as to warrant shareholders of these companies.


Oil fell in New York on speculation rising U.S. crude stockpiles indicate fuel demand is faltering in the world’s biggest consumer of the commodity.

Futures dropped as much as 0.7 percent after the industry- funded American Petroleum Institute said inventories climbed 3.96 million barrels to 358.2 million last week, the biggest increase in three months. An Energy Department report today may show supplies decreased 2 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Prices failed to settle above $100 a barrel yesterday on concern the U.S. may default amid a standoff over the country’s $14.3 trillion debt limit.

“If the U.S. doesn’t increase the debt ceiling then the outlook for the economy becomes more subdued and that would weigh on oil,” said Eliane Tanner, an analyst at Bank Sarasin & Cie AG in Zurich. “But market fundamentals are quite tight. We still don’t have the supply problems in the Middle East resolved yet and demand is to remain pretty robust. We expect sideways trading in a $110 to $120 range for the next few months.”

Crude for September delivery dropped as much as 68 cents to $98.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $99.20 at 10:08 a.m. London time. Futures have gained 28 percent in the past year.



Brent for September settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange fell as much as 44 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $117.84 a barrel. The European benchmark contract was at an $18.97 premium to New York futures, down from a record $22.63 on July 14.

“Prices may be range-bound until the American debt issue is resolved,” said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity-derivatives sales manager at broker Newedge Group in Tokyo, who predicts oil will trade between $97.50 and $101.50 a barrel this week.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles probably increased for a second week, gaining 400,000 barrels in the seven days to July 22, according to the median estimate of 14 analysts surveyed before the Energy Department report today.

Oil rose yesterday after an index of U.S. consumer confidence rebounded from an eight-month low and the dollar fell on concern the country may default. A weaker greenback bolsters the investment appeal of commodities as a hedge against inflation.

Crude in New York is declining as it may have advanced too quickly, technical charts suggest. The 14-day stochastic oscillator is above 80, indicating futures are at so-called overbought levels, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

An area of showers and thunderstorms associated with a tropical wave over the northwestern Caribbean Sea has a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. The Atlantic hurricane season is monitored by the oil and gas industry because of the potential impact on production areas including the Gulf of Mexico.(Bloomberg)


The dollar slumped to record lows against the Swiss franc and the Australian and New Zealand dollars as President Barack Obama and lawmakers argued over plans to raise the U.S. debt limit and prevent a default.
The yen reached the strongest level in four months versus the dollar. The euro fell against the yen and retreated from a three-week high versus the dollar as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said his country opposed a “blank check” for the euro-area rescue fund to purchase bonds on the secondary market. Australia’s dollar climbed after data showed inflation accelerated. U.S. data today is forecast to show demand for durable goods grew at a slower pace.

“The foreign-exchange market is acting like this is the only thing going on in the world” for the dollar, said Kathleen Brooks, research director in London at, a unit of the online currency trading company Gain Capital Holdings Inc., referring to the U.S. debt impasse. Currencies including the U.K. pound “are being lifted on this wave of dollar-selling,” she said.

The dollar slid as low as 77.58 yen, the weakest level since March 17, before trading 0.3 percent lower at 77.65 yen at 9:59 a.m. in London. The dollar was 0.1 percent stronger at $1.4484 per euro. It declined earlier to $1.4536, the weakest level since July 5. The pound reached $1.6421, the highest since June 14, before appreciating 0.1 percent to $1.6410.

The U.S. currency sank to a record 87.65 cents per New Zealand dollar before trading at 87.58 cents, down 0.6 percent. It dropped 0.2 percent to 80 Swiss centimes after touching an all-time low of 79.96 centimes.

Veto Threat 


The Obama administration threatened a presidential veto of House Speaker John Boehner’s two-step plan to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and cut $3 trillion in expenditure. A vote on the measure had been scheduled for today and was postponed until tomorrow, still ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline when Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has said the U.S. will run out of options to prevent a default.

A cut of the U.S.’s top AAA credit rating would likely raise the nation’s borrowing costs by increasing Treasury yields by 60 to 70 basis points over the “medium term,” JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Terry Belton said yesterday on a conference call hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
Standard & Poor’s reiterated on July 21 that the chance of a downgrade is 50 percent in the next three months and said it may cut the nation as soon as August.

Dollar ‘Catalysts’ 


“Looking for catalysts to sell the dollar is no problem at all,” said Tsutomu Soma, a bond and currency dealer at Okasan Securities Co. in Tokyo. “If politicians fail to reach an agreement, dollar selling will accelerate. Even if they do agree, spending cuts will slow the U.S. economy.”

Demand for durable goods in the U.S. rose 0.3 percent in June after a 2.1 percent gain the previous month, according to economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg before the Commerce Department report today.
IntercontinentalExchange Inc.’s Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners, was little changed at to 73.533 today, after dropping to 73,421, the lowest level since May 5.

Australia’s currency gained 8.5 percent in the last 12 months, the second-best performer after the franc’s 18 percent surge, Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes showed.
The South Pacific nation’s consumer price index rose 0.9 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, the Bureau of Statistics said today. The median estimate of economists was for a 0.7 percent increase.

Aussie Rates 


Traders are betting the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut its key rate by about 23 basis points in the next 12 months, compared with a decrease of 55 basis points expected as of July 18, according to a Credit Suisse Group AG index based on swaps.

“The money market will take out most, but probably not all, of the rate cuts that it’s got priced in for the next 12 months,” said Joseph Capurso, a currency strategist in Sydney at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender.

The so-called Aussie reached $1.1081, the most since the currency was freely floated in 1983, before trading at $1.1066 from $1.0956 yesterday.

Europe’s common currency declined versus 14 of its 16 most- actively traded peers, declining the most against the Australian and New Zealand dollars, amid speculation Europe’s latest aid package may not be sufficient to prevent contagion.

Schaeuble Comments 


Schaeuble, in a letter to lawmakers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, also said European governments must prevent a breakup of the euro region as well as an “uncontrolled” exit of one of its members.

Bank of Japan board member Hidetoshi Kamezaki today said he’s watching the yen’s gains with great caution as they could damage the economy. The BOJ will take needed policy action proactively, he said.
Group of Seven nations jointly sold the yen on March 18 after it reached a postwar record of 76.25 to the dollar the previous day, saying in a statement they wanted to reduce “excess volatility and disorderly movements.” Japan’s Finance Ministry sold 692.5 billion yen ($8.9 billion) that month in its first intervention since a unilateral action in September.

“I guess Japan has already got a nod from the U.S. on an independent intervention,” said Marito Ueda, senior managing director in Tokyo at FX Prime Corp. a currency margin company. “It won’t come about straight away, but preparations must have been done.”(Bloomberg)


Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd has issued an Unusual Market Activity (UMA) query to Sarawak Consolidated Industries Bhd (SCIB) on Wednesday, July 27 due to the stock price hitting limit-up in the morning trading session today.

SCIB rose 30 sen to 65 sen as at 2.37pm with 3.8 million shares done.
Bursa said in accordance with the Listing Requirements, SCIB was to publicly confirm if there were any corporate developments or rumours concerning the business that may account for the UMA. (


Shares of TELEKOM MALAYSIA BHD and Axiata Group Bhd bucked the weaker market on Wednesday, July 27 on investors’ expectations of dividends from TM after it disposed on its remaining Axiata shares.

At 9.43am, TM was up 15 sen to RM4.14 with 2.44 million shares done. Axiata added nine sen to RM5.22 with 1.68 million units done.

The FBM KLCI shed 0.54 point to 1,561.23. Turnover was 168.5 million shares done valued at RM188.44 million. There were 152 gainers, 156 stocks unchanged and 193 unchanged.

TM’s unit has placed out 92.36 million Axiata shares at RM5.07 a share and raised gross proceeds of RM468.3 million. It said the shares were placed out to successful third-party foreign institutional investors. Following the placement, it only owned 807 shares.

CIMB Equities Research retained its Outperform call on TM  with a sum-of-parts based target price of RM4.92 and is its top Malaysian telco pick.

It said the likely price catalysts include the strong take-up of Unifi, expectations of a special dividend and positive earnings surprises.

“We think TM will pay a special dividend this year with the proceeds from the sale,” it said. (


Petroliam  Nasional Bhd has clarified the Sinopec-Sabio- IODC group has not taken part in any of its prior processes in the development for marginal offshore oil field in Malaysia.

Petronas said on Wednesday, July 27 as part of the risk service contract (RSC) petroleum arrangement, the selection criteria was the local company must have a proven track record as an established oil and gas service provider, apart from being a listed entity.

The national oil company was clarifying news reports the Sinopec Petroleum Services Corp, Sabio Oil & Gas Sdn Bhd and International Oil Design & CONSTRUCTION [] Sdn Bhd (IODC) consortium was poised to be awarded a contract for the development of a marginal offshore oil field in Malaysia.

In its clarification, Petronas said it  was developing in phases a number of marginal offshore fields in Malaysia under the RSC arrangement.

It said that it had already completed a data review process with parties interested in the fields identified for the first phase of the development and has so far awarded a RSC for the Berantai field to the Petrofac-Kencana-Sapura partnership.
“While Petronas is extremely encouraged with the interest shown by various local and international industry players in the country’s marginal fields, the Sinopec-Sabio- IODC consortium has not taken part in any of our prior processes.

“In addition, as part of our selection criteria, any local company to be selected by foreign partners to participate in the RSC petroleum arrangement is required to have a proven track record as an established oil and gas service provider, apart from being a listed entity,” it said.(


The Australian dollar surged to a record after a government report showed consumer prices rose more in the second quarter than economists had forecast, prompting traders to slash bets on an interest-rate cut.

New Zealand’s currency also climbed to the highest since it was freely floated in 1985 after a private survey showed business confidence improved in July. Both reports added to pressure for the nations’ central banks to tighten monetary policy, increasing demand for their assets among investors seeking a haven from the U.S.’s debt deadlock.

“The money market will take out most, but probably not all, of the rate cuts that it’s got priced in for the next 12 months,” said Joseph Capurso, a currency strategist in Sydney at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender. “Not just the Reserve Bank of Australia, but U.S. dollar weakness across the board will boost the Aussie.”

Australia’s currency advanced to as high as $1.1063, the strongest since it was floated in 1983, before trading at $1.1036 as of 1:15 p.m. in Sydney from $1.0956 in New York. The so-called Aussie climbed 0.6 percent to 85.89 yen. New Zealand’s dollar rose 0.4 percent to 87.38 U.S. cents after earlier reaching a record 87.65 cents. The currency gained 0.3 percent to 68 yen.

Australia’s consumer price index rose 0.9 percent from the previous three months, the Bureau of Statistics said today. That was more than the 0.7 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists. Prices were 3.6 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with the median forecast of 3.4 percent.

Rate Bets

The report reflects lingering effects of floods in the nation’s northeast that shut mines and wiped out crops and were followed by a cyclone that tore through sugar- and banana- producing areas. RBA Governor Glenn Stevens, who has paused rate increases for the longest stretch since 2007, this week said the inflation data will help determine the path of monetary policy.

Swaps traders reduced bets on an interest-rate cut in Australia after the report, according to a Credit Suisse AG index. Stevens will reduce the benchmark 24 basis points over 12 months down from 39 yesterday, it shows.

New Zealand’s dollar advanced after a survey by ANZ National Bank Ltd. showed business confidence rose to a 14-month high in July amid record-low borrowing costs and higher commodity prices.

Business Confidence

A net 47.6 percent of companies expect the economy will improve over the next year, the highest level since May 2010, and up from 46.5 percent in June, the survey shows. A second measure of expectations for companies’ sales and earnings rose to 43.7 percent, compared with 38.7 percent in June.

“There is now more pressure on New Zealand’s Reserve Bank to tighten conditions than there was before the report,” said Imre Speizer, a strategist in Auckland at Westpac Banking Corp, Australia’s second-largest lender. “The report was kiwi positive and should push it to a new post-float high.”

Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Alan Bollard last month signaled expectations of a quarter-point rise in December were consistent with his estimates. A Credit Suisse index shows traders are wagering that rates will increase about 1 percentage point over 12 months.

New Zealand’s two-year swap rate, a fixed payment made to receive floating rates, rose five basis points to 3.67 percent.

Australia’s three-year bond yield gained 12 basis points to 4.49 percent. Yields on the benchmark 10-year bond rose four basis points to 4.98 percent.
Benchmark interest rates are 4.75 percent in Australia and 2.5 percent in New Zealand, compared with as low as zero in the U.S. and Japan, attracting investors to the South Pacific nations’ higher-yielding assets. The risk in such trades is that currency market moves will erase profits.(Bloomberg)


Asian shares edged higher on Tuesday, July 26, rebounding from Monday's fall, but the dollar slid to a record low against the Swiss franc after a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama gave no sign a deadlock in Washington over raising the debt limit was easing.

Short-term speculators took aim at the dollar after Obama delivered a prime-time address to Americans, warning that a default on U.S. bond obligations would be a "reckless and irresponsible outcome". But he gave no indication a compromise was imminent.

So far investors have shown few signs of panic even as Republicans and Democrats have failed to bridge their differences with just a week to go to the Aug. 2 deadline the U.S. Treasury has set for when it may fail to pay out on Treasuries.
The market reaction to a sudden breakdown in talks over the weekend was limited given the threat of a technical default and a potential cut in the United States' top-notch AAA credit rating.

But some market players were taking no chances, shifting funds into safe-haven gold and the Swiss franc, driving both to record highs in U.S. dollar terms. Gold was steady in early trade at $1,614.14 an ounce.

"The unfolding U.S. debt ceiling drama should add to the headwinds for market risk sentiment, with a potential downgrade of the world's ultimate risk-free asset - the U.S. Treasuries - fuelling more flight to quality into gold and Swiss franc," said currency analysts at Citigroup in a note to clients.

Portfolio managers and traders have said they believe an agreement will be reached in Washington at the last minute, and that even a technical default or rating downgrade may only cause short-term market volatility rather than a full-fledged crisis.

Asian bonds, currencies and even shares have been one of the beneficiaries from all the debt trouble in Europe and the political gridlock in the United States, with investors viewing the region's stronger growth and fundamentals as a relative safe-haven.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.8 percent and is up about 1 percent on the month and year, withstanding the occasional bouts of volatility from the U.S. deficit debate and euro zone debt crisis.
Gains were fairly broad, if on light trade. By sector, telecom, energy, financial and resource shares were driving the rise.


Japan has also weathered the storm as its big automakers and manufacturers have recovered more quickly than expected from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Japan's Nikkei average clung to positive territory, thanks in part to solid earnings from blue-chip companies such as Canon despite the yen's persistent strength.

In currencies, the dollar erased gains scored against the euro the previous day on widening Spanish and Italian bond yield spreads and hit a six-week low against a basket of currencies.

The euro rose 0.6 percent to $1.4470 , while the dollar hit an all-time low of 0.8006 Swiss francs . The dollar hovered near 78.00 yen after briefly falling below that level.

The yen pushed back towards a record high hit against the dollar in March, stirring some speculation Japanese authorities may soon intervene to stem further gains. The dollar briefly spiked against the yen, but traders said no intervention had been spotted.

Option markets -- where investors typically hedge themselves against potential risks -- were also showing no signs of panic across the dollar, S&P futures and Treasury futures.

While the closely watched VIX index of S&P implied volatility ticked up on Monday to 19.35, it remains off peaks of 24.65 and 31.28 struck earlier this year.
Implied volatility on Treasury futures was also higher this month but historically subdued.

U.S. Treasuries slipped for a second day, with long-term Treasuries under the most pressure from the worries about a rating downgrade.
Ten-year notes were down 4/32 in price to yield 3.017 percent, up a basis point. Thirty-year bonds fell 5/32 to yield 4.328 percent, also up a basis point.(Reuters)


PUBLIC BANK BHD shares rose on Tuesday, July 26 after it declared a first interim dividend of 20% or 20 sen a share which would result in a total dividend payout of RM700 million.

At 11.25am, Public Bank added eight sen to RM13.44 with 372,700 shares traded.
Its earnings rose 19.9% to RM880.35 million in the second quarter ended June 30, 2011 from RM734.08 million a year ago.

Revenue increased by 18.3% to RM3.17 billion from RM2.68 billion. Earnings per share were 25.14 sen compared with 20.96 sen.(


Representative office to be set up in Jakarta
PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Bhd headquarters will remain rooted in Malaysia though a representative office will be set up in Jakarta to drive the Asean integration agenda.

“Nothing changes. AirAsia's head office is in Malaysia and our listing is on Bursa Malaysia,'' AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said in an SMS from London yesterday.

He said the office in Jakarta was “just a regional office to build relationships with the Asean Secretariat (which is also) located in Jakarta (and) to work towards a one Asean sky and aviation authority like Europe's joint aviation authority.''

Fernandes: ‘The Jakarta office is just to build relationships with the Asean Secretariat.’ - AP filepic 
He added that Malaysian companies had to plan ahead for the Asean economic integration and the carrier just like other Malaysian companies was planning ahead (by setting up an office in Jakarta).

“The benefits to Malaysia of an Asean economic community is huge and Malaysian companies should be in the forefront of this,'' he said.

This affirmation follows “the wave of hysteria'' that was sparked after he made a statement in Tokyo on Friday that the carrier would establish “a regional office in Jakarta.''

Though he claims that “some press were just being mischievious'' in assuming his statement meant that the airline's head office would move from Malaysia to Jakarta. He and AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani were seen furiously yesterday trying to put into perspective what was said in Tokyo.

The reports, some from Indonesia, had sparked a conversation on the social networks yesterday and many people jumped to give their views via Twitter, Facebook, with some bloggers blogging about it.

The sentiment of readers were mixed some sad and hurt by the move, others felt it was a natural progression, while others joked about it.

One tweet read “ ... AirAsia is moving to Botswana and rebrand as Air Africa'' while another asked “... how come (after the rebuttal was issued by Fernandes), you previously said that AirAsia HQ would be located in Indonesia?''

Separately AirAsia said “there are absolutely no plans, nor the inclination, to move the headquarters of this Malaysian-incorporated company out of the country. And our Malaysian-registered fleet of aircraft will continue to operate from the LCCT.''

The Malaysian flag carrier on Friday in Tokyo had inked a joint venture with Japan's largest airline, All Nippon Airways to set up AirAsia Japan and it was during this event Fernandes talked about the Jakarta office.

AirAsia has joint ventures in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The AirAsia statement said “the office in Jakarta is to be called AirAsia Asean, an entity set up under the aegis of AirAsia. The main goal of AirAsia Asean is to broaden our branding as a “Truly Asean” airline and extend our outreach to various groups in the region in regards to aviation policies within Asean.''

It added that as it grew, it is imperative that it engaged with all parties interested in aviation and tourism throughout the region including governments, non-governmental organisations and the media in Asean to put forward its ideas regarding the growth of the tourism industry and aviation policies in this region that it called home.

“Indonesia's growth trajectory is set to increase its share of Asean's GDP in the years to come, and AirAsia is but merely moving ahead of the curve in locating AirAsia Asean in Jakarta to help increase our visibility and profile in the region's most-populated nation.

“This is particularly relevant at this time with AirAsia Indonesia heading for a listing on the Indonesian stock exchange. We believe that having our Asean representative office in Jakarta will also help our group coordinate more effectively with the Indonesian authorities and interact more closely with the 240 million people in that archipelagic nation to better serve them in their increasing need for affordable and convenient air travel,'' the statement said.

It added that “we are of the firm conviction that AirAsia Asean's outreach efforts from Jakarta can eventually benefit not just the aviation and tourism industries in the region, but also help AirAsia boost the economies of all Asean countries with Malaysia, in particular, gaining substantially given the increasing connectivity established by AirAsia from our LCCT hub in Sepang”.(The Star Online)


Asian markets generally saw a rebound in Tuesday's early morning trade, against a backdrop of uncertainty surrounding debt problems in the euro zone and United States as well as a weakening American dollar.

At 10am today, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was up 0.04% to 10,054.34, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.75% to 22,461.26 and Shanghai's A share index was 0.21% higher at 2,694.36.

However, the local bourse's benchmark index was 0.14% lower at 1,557.42 while Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 0.13% to 3,175.61.

At Bursa Malaysia, decliners outpaced advancers by 222 to 208 while 239 other counters were traded unchanged.

There were 248 million shares done with a total turnover of RM249.8 million.
Among the gainers were Petronas Dagangan Bhd which was up 32 sen to RM18.30, DRB-HICOM BHD which rose 30 sen to RM2.25, KNM Group Bhd which was up 11 sen to RM1.86 and Zecon Bhd which rose 10.5 sen to 58.5 sen.

The losers included Tenaga Nasional Bhd which fell 8 sen to RM6.14 and ACE Market-listed Catcha Media Berhad which slipped 6.5 sen to 62.5 sen.
At 10am today, Nymex crude oil in electronic trade was US$0.05 higher at US$99.25 per barrel.

Spot gold was quoted at US$1,614.15 per ounce.

The ringgit was quoted at RM2.96 to the US dollar and RM4.27 to the euro.(The Star Online)


KNM says it is forming a consortium with Zecon and either a Korean or Chinese contractor to build a refinery and an oil storage terminal in Teluk Ramunia

Kuala Lumpur: KNM Group Bhd and Zecon Bhd has entered into an agreement with Gulf Asian Petroleum (GAP) Sdn Bhd to build a refinery and an oil storage terminal worth a combined RM17 billion in Teluk Ramunia, Johor.

GAP, which on April 30 2010 obtained an approval from the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority for the manufacturing licence for the integrated petrochemical plant, is 50 per cent owned by Mubadala Capital Sdn Bhd (MCSB).

The remaining shares in the firm is owned by Abdul Aziz Hamad Al-Dulaimi, the president of Gulf Petroleum Ltd, whose shareholders include Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Company, Al-Mana Group, National Petroleum Group and the banking arm of Al-Sari Group.

MCSB's controlling shareholder, Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, is also the chief executive and controlling stakeholder of Zecon.

The deal, bound to cause waves of interest in the oil and gas sector here, came on a day when two other oil and gas projects were announced.

Petroleum Bhd and Kencana Petroleum Bhd announced a RM11.5 billion merger plan that will become the country's largest oil and gas (O&G) service provider.

In a late statement to the stock exchange, KNM said it was forming a consortium with Zecon and either a Korean or Chinese contractor to undertake both the projects.

The projects comprise a RM15 billion oil refinery and a RM2 billion oil storage terminal.

The refinery will have a capacity of up to 200,000 barrels a day and 525,000 tonnes-a-year polypropylene processing plant, while the oil storage terminal will have a capacity of 2.328 million cubic metres.

The refinery and the storage facility are expected to be completed within 40 months and 18 months respectively, KNM said, adding the refinery project will be funded by 30 per cent equity, with the balance funded through project financing or sukuk issuance.

To help cover some of the storage facility cost, KNM will also try to arrange a sukuk issuance of up to RM1.5 billion to cover project financing during construction, KNM said.

Apart from the KNM-Zecon announcement, Daya Materials Bhd said it had secured two supply and delivery agreements worth RM27.42 million from Petronas Methanol (Labuan) Sdn Bhd.

Elsewhere, China's largest petroleum refiner Sinopec Petroleum Services Corp (Sinopec) is reportedly poised to take a major stake in a planned RM2.06 billion venture to help develop a Petronas marginal oil field located off Te-rengganu.

The announcement comes merely weeks after SapuraCres.(Business Times)


World stock markets were lower Monday after U.S. political leaders failed to reach a deal to raise Washington's debt limit and avoid a default.

Oil prices fell to near $99 a barrel in Asia amid investor concern the lack of a debt agreement might damage the world's biggest economy and reduce demand for crude.

Investors were not reassured by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's assertion that America's economy is sound despite its current woes and the deadlock over the national debt.

Speaking in Hong Kong, Clinton predicted a debt deal would be reached before the Aug. 2 deadline to avoid an unprecedented default. She said the partisan debate over the debt ceiling was a fact of life in American politics.

In Europe, France's CAC-40 was down 0.3 percent at 3,380.76 and Germany's DAX was off 0.1 percent at 7,321.78. London's FTSE was little changed at 5,934.15.

Futures augured losses on Wall Street. S&P 500 futures dropped 0.7 percent to 1,331.40 and Dow futures fell 0.7 percent to 12,532.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.8 percent at 10,050.01. China's Shanghai Composite Index slid 3 percent to 2,688.75 after a weekend bullet train collision killed 38 people. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.7 percent to 22,293.29.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi shed 1 percent to 2,150.48 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.6 percent to 4,530.40. Markets in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also fell while India and Thailand gained.
"The only thing you can be assured of over the coming hours and days is volatility as the political posturing continues in the U.S.," said Ben Potter, market strategist for IG Markets, in a report.

U.S. leaders had hoped to strike a deal Sunday to reassure investors. President Barack Obama has insisted on raising revenues, mainly through letting tax cuts for wealthier Americans expire, but Republicans want more spending cuts and have rejected higher taxes.

A default would mean the U.S. government could not pay all its bills starting next month, including interest and principal on Treasury bonds. That would cause shockwaves through the global economy and financial markets.

Many analysts expect U.S. leaders to reach a last-minute deal to raise the government's $14.3 trillion borrowing limit before the Aug. 2 deadline. But markets are watching anxiously for what tax or spending changes might be part of the settlement.

Chinese shares suffered their biggest one-day loss in six months as railway-related shares plunged after this weekend's deadly bullet train crash that raised doubts about rapid expansion of the high-speed rail network. Producers of cement and water conservation technology also suffered.

China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corp. declined 8.9 percent and Gem Year Industrial Co. Ltd., a maker of fasteners used by the railway industry, fell by the daily 10 percent limit.

"Investors might be affected by the accident and prefer to watch the market. Also, many people are wondering whether such quick economic development is correct," said Yang Yining, an analyst at Capital-Edge Investment & Management Co. in Shanghai.

The dollar fell to 78.18 from 78.43 late Friday in New York. The euro was little changed at $1.4374.

Benchmark oil for September delivery was down 54 cents to $99.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose 74 cents to settle at $99.87 on Friday.

In London, Brent crude slid 67 cents to $118 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. (Associated Press-AP)


Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.4% to 3,171.55 at the close. Five stocks dropped for each that rose in the gauge of 30 companies.

Shares on the measure trade at an average 14.7 times estimated earnings, compared with about 15.6 times at the end of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The following shares were among the most active in the market.

Developers: Shares of the nation’s biggest real-estate companies declined on concern the government will introduce additional measures to curb property prices after government data released last week showed the growth in housing prices in the second quarter moderated. “Private home prices continued its upward trend despite cooling measures,” Fera Wirawan and Bryan Lim, analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, wrote in a note to clients dated July 22. “We believe that the government may look to introduce further measures to curb the exuberance.”
CapitaLand (CAPL SP), Southeast Asia’s biggest developer by market value, slipped 1% to $2.92. City Developments (CIT SP), the second-largest homebuilder in the city-state, dropped 1.7% to $10.74.
Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JCNC SP), the automotive distributor that gets about 89% of sales from Indonesia, climbed 2.8% to $48.72. Toyota Astra Motor, a unit of Jardine Cycle’s PT Astra International, is confident it can maintain its share of the Indonesia car market at 36%, Marketing Director Joko Trisanyoto said on July 22. Toyota Astra sold 152,283 vehicles in the first half, compared to 140,396 in the same period a year earlier.
Midas Holdings (MIDAS SP), a supplier of aluminum alloy profiles used in train carriages in China, slumped 3.9% to 61 cents on speculation a deadly high-speed train accident will prompt the Chinese government to slow construction and reduce investments. The accident is “hugely negative” for the nation’s railway infrastructure-related companies, including Midas, Tan Han Meng, an analyst at DMG & Partners Securities Pte, wrote in a note to clients.
Nera Telecommunications (NERT SP), a supplier of wireless equipment to the telecommunications industry, fell 3.9%to 37 cents. The company said second-quarter net income declined 16% to $2.5 million from a year earlier.
SATS (SATS SP), the ground-handling services provider partly owned by Temasek Holdings, lost 1.5% to $2.58. The company said Chief Executive Officer Clement Woon resigned to pursue his “personal interests.” Tan Chuan Lye, executive vice president, was named as the acting CEO while the company starts a global search. (The Edge Singapore)


 Stock index futures fell sharply on Monday as political brinkmanship in Washington over the U.S. debt ceiling sparked fears of a U.S. rating downgrade, sending world equities lower and pushing gold to a record high.

* A divided U.S. Congress pursued rival budget plans that appeared unlikely to win broad support, pushing the country closer to a debt default.

* Analysts still expect a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling by August 2. But the impasse pushed the United States one step closer to losing its coveted triple-A credit rating as Democrats and Republicans seemed unlikely to agree on a deal.

* White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley warned there would be a "few stressful days" ahead for financial markets. But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was confident a deal would be reached.

* The political wrangling has weighed on equity markets, but that has been somewhat offset by positive earnings news. Major indexes notched solid gains last week, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rising more than 2 percent.

* S&P 500 futures fell 9.6 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures slid 87 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 13 points.

* European shares lost ground in early trade, threatening a one-week rally, as banking stocks dropped. U.S.-listed shares of Barclays (NYSE:BCS - News) fell 3.2 percent to $15.10 in premarket trade.

* Gold surged to a record high above $1,620 an ounce in Asian trading, the fifth record high for bullion in less than two weeks.

* Also rattling investors, credit rating agency Moody's cut Greece's sovereign debt by three notches on Monday to 'Ca', just one level above default. Greece has the lowest rating of any country in the world covered by Moody's.

* Kimberly-Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB - News) reported results early Monday.

* Investors also awaited earnings from Texas Instruments Inc (NYSE:TXN - News) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp (NYSE:APC - News).

* On Friday, promising chipmaker earnings and optimism about a debt deal triggered a move into growth-oriented shares such as techs. (The Street)


The dollar fell to a record low versus the Swiss franc and a four-month trough against the yen on Monday as failure to reach a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling unsettled financial markets and fueled demand for perceived safe-haven currencies.

Most investors expect a debt deal will be done before the August 2 deadline to avert default, but the lack of progress in talks over how to cut the U.S. budget deficit and the possibility that ratings agencies may downgrade the nation's debt weighed on risk sentiment.

The U.S. Treasury says it will run out of money to pay the country's bills after August 2, though some analysts say the Treasury may be able to scrape some money together to get by for a week or two -- a scenario that some market players are starting to think cannot be ruled out.

The dollar shed nearly 2 percent on the day against the Swiss franc to hit an all-time low of 0.8029 franc on trading platform EBS. The franc also rose sharply against the euro.

"The U.S. will have to come up with credible long-term plan in order to avert a downgrade," said Manuel Oliveri, currency strategist at UBS in Zurich.

"The increasing risk of a downgrade means declining confidence in U.S. assets and the risk of capital outflows, which is a negative for the dollar against the Swiss franc and the yen," he added.

The dollar slipped to a four-month low of 78.05 yen in European trade, with traders reporting selling from Asian sovereign accounts.

Many traders think the dollar could test a record low of 76.25 yen if the U.S. debt crisis drags on.
The greenback was close to a six-week low hit against a basket of currencies last week of 73.889. .DXY
"Below 74 in the dollar index could see it potentially down toward the record lows (around 70.70) hit in 2008," said Kathleen Brooks, head of research strategy at

"If U.S. GDP data on Friday shows weak growth added to an unsustainable debt burden, that has to be toxic for the dollar," she added.


The euro initially slipped against the dollar after Moody's downgraded Greece by three notches to Ca from Caa1, though the impact was limited because the move was not a surprise and traders were focused on the U.S. debt saga.

The euro was last up 0.3 percent against the struggling dollar at $1.4400, but the euro zone's lingering debt risks kept traders wary over the single currency.

The sweeping bailout and policy package agreed by euro zone leaders last week has helped stem market panic in the short run. But analysts say the measures may not be enough to bring the crisis to a swift resolution.

Such uncertainty fueled further demand for the low-yielding Swiss franc, which many investors see as the cleanest way of playing euro zone and U.S. weakness. The euro was down 1.7 percent at 1.1568 francs, within sight of a recent record low of 1.1365.

"With lingering uncertainty over the sustainability of the euro zone bailout package and concerns over the U.S. debt ceiling, we would expect the franc to continue to gain this week," said Oliveri at UBS. (Reuters)


Asian stocks fell, led by banks and exporters, as U.S. lawmakers failed to reach an agreement to raise the federal debt limit, increasing the prospect of a default that may threaten the global recovery, and as Greece’s credit rating was cut by Moody’s Investors Service.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker by market value, slid 1.4 percent in Tokyo, leading consumer discretionary stocks lower. Honda Motor Co., the Japanese automaker which receives 44 percent of its revenue from North America, declined 1.6 percent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s biggest lender by market value, slipped 1.9 percent in Sydney. China Railway Construction Corp. tumbled 6.7 percent in Hong Kong to its lowest level on record after two high-speed trains collided in China, killing at least 36 people.

“The ongoing saga of needing to raise the debt ceiling in the U.S. is likely to remain a concern for stock markets as the deadline heads closer with no apparent signs of agreement,” said Stephen Halmarick, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion. “If talks fail, we should expect a credit-rating downgrade and another turn downwards in the U.S. economy.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.9 percent 137.81 as of 6:29 p.m. in Tokyo. About three stocks fell for each that gained on the gauge. The measure rose 2.5 percent last week, erasing the regional benchmark index’s loss for the year, as steps by European leaders toward easing the region’s sovereign debt crisis, including fresh aid for Greece, boosted the earnings outlook for Asia’s banks and exporters.

Asian Benchmarks Fall 


Most stock market benchmarks in the region fell today. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.8 percent while South Korea’s Kospi index declined 1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 1.6 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped 0.7 percent, and China’s Shanghai Composite index declined 3 percent, the biggest decline among regional benchmarks, along with the Shenzhen Composite Index, which dropped 3.8 percent.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.9 percent today. House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans that there’s no agreement on a plan for raising the U.S. debt ceiling before a default threatened for Aug. 2. A Republican congressional official said Boehner, speaking by telephone to lawmakers, is reporting that discussions are continuing. The impasse has boosted the chance S&P Ratings Service will cut the U.S. credit rating from AAA within three months to 50 percent, the company said July 21.

Exporters Decline 


Asian exporters to the U.S. declined on concern failure to reach an agreement on debt talks may damp the economic recovery and jeopardize their earnings prospects.

Toyota, which receives 28 percent of its sales from North America, slid 1.4 percent to 3,290 yen. Honda dropped 1.6 percent to 3,185 yen. Samsung Electronics Co., which counts America as its second-biggest market for revenue, declined 0.4 percent to 847,000 won in Seoul.

Asian banks also declined on concern credit rating agencies may lower their outlook for U.S. debt, further roiling credit markets. Both S&P and Moody’s Investors Service are weighing a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

The amount of U.S. Treasuries held in Japan was estimated at $912.4 billion at the end of May, the highest since at least 2000, according to U.S. Treasury data compiled by Bloomberg. China is the largest holder of U.S. debt, with $1.16 trillion at the end of May, the data show.

‘Mini Sell-Off’ 


Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s largest listed lender by market value, lost 2 percent to 399 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s No. 2, fell 1.3 percent to 2,497 yen. Commonwealth Bank of Australia declined 1.9 percent to A$49.54 in Sydney.

“The outcome of U.S. debt talks was one of the big concerns for investors, so this will trigger a mini sell-off in stock markets,” said Prasad Patkar, who helps manage the equivalent of $1.7 billion at Sydney-based Platypus Asset Management Ltd. “Failure to reach a debt deal would jeopardize the U.S.’s credit rating, and this has the potential to cause a seizure in global credit markets.”

Greece’s Rating Cut 


Stocks also fell as Moody’s Investors Service cut Greece’s sovereign credit rating by three steps to Ca from Caa1, saying the European Union’s financing package for the debt-laden nation implies “substantial economic losses” for private creditors.

Esprit Holdings Ltd., the clothing retailer which counts Europe as its biggest market, dropped 3.5 percent to HK$23.30 in Hong Kong. Cosco Pacific Ltd., which operates container facilities at Greece’s Piraeus port, slipped 0.3 percent to HK$13.10. Trend Micro Inc., the internet security software maker which receives 19 percent of its revenue from Europe, slid 2.1 percent to 2,521 yen in Tokyo.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1 percent this year through July 22, compared with a gain of 7 percent by the S&P 500 and a drop of 1.4 percent by the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Stocks in the Asian benchmark are valued at 13.8 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.5 times for the S&P 500 and 11.1 times for the Stoxx 600.

China Rail Crash 


Chinese railway-related companies fell after at least 36 people died and 200 were injured when a high-speed train that broke down after being struck by lightning was rear-ended by another locomotive two days ago in China, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

China Railway Construction sank 6.7 percent to HK$5.46, its lowest level since listing in Hong Kong in March 2008. China Railway Group Ltd., which builds railroads, plunged 6.7 percent to HK$3.05. CSR Corp., which makes locomotives, freight wagons and passenger carriages, tumbled 8.9 percent to 6.04 yuan in Shanghai.

The accident will “substantially undermine” people’s confidence in the country’s high-speed rail network and “significantly discourage” usage, Barclays Capital said.

Airline and expressway operators gained in China on speculation passengers will increase airplane and car travel following the rail crash.

China Eastern Airlines Corp. climbed 1.2 percent to 5.09 yuan in Shanghai. Air China Ltd. increased 3.6 percent to HK$8.08 in Hong Kong. China Southern Airlines Co. advanced 3.4 percent to HK$5.17. Shenzhen Expressway Co., which manages and operates highways and expressways in China, rose 2.9 percent to 4.90 yuan.

“We expect travelers to gradually turn to alternative transport means, including expressways,” Patrick Xu and Jon Windham, analysts at Barclays Capital, wrote in a report today.(Bloomberg)


Gold climbed to a record in London and New York as U.S. lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on raising the federal debt limit, boosting demand for the metal as a protection of wealth.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner plans to press ahead with a two-step debt-limit extension that President Barack Obama has threatened to veto, fueling concern the nation is lurching toward a default as early as Aug. 2 and jeopardizing its AAA credit rating. Greece’s credit rating was cut three notches by Moody’s Investors Service. Europe’s debt woes helped bullion reach all-time highs in euros and pounds last week.

“Debt problems have again been driving the markets,” James Moore, an analyst at in London, said in a report. “The 50-50 view of a default by the U.S. seems likely to draw more investment demand towards gold as investors lose faith in paper money and seek more tangible assets.”

Immediate-delivery gold gained as much as $22.80, or 1.4 percent, to $1,624.07 an ounce and traded at $1,616.65 by 9:26 a.m. in London. Gold for August delivery was up 1 percent at $1,617 an ounce on the Comex in New York after reaching a record $1,624.30.

Gold is up 14 percent this year, heading for an 11th straight annual gain, the longest winning streak since at least 1920 in London. The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities gained 4.3 percent in 2011, the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities is up 10 percent and Treasuries returned 3.3 percent, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index.

U.S. Debt Ceiling

Republicans and Democrats prepared dueling plans for raising the U.S. debt ceiling, unable to break a partisan stalemate over how to tackle the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt. Mohamed A. El-Erian, whose Pacific Investment Management Co. runs the world’s biggest bond fund, said the U.S. may lose its AAA debt rating even if lawmakers avoid a default.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today reassured China, the top holder of American debt, the U.S. will resolve the impasse.

“They didn’t reach an agreement on the U.S. debt issue and this uncertainty is getting fed into gold,” said Dominic Schnider, director for wealth management research at UBS AG. While it’s probably going to get solved at the last minute, people are becoming so aware of the ballooning debt in the developed world, there’s a risk that the U.S. will have a rating downgrade, he said. Gold may surge to $1,800 toward the end of the year, Schnider said.

Debt-Laden Greece

Moody’s said today the European Union’s rescue for debt- laden Greece will cause “substantial” losses for investors, amounting to a default. Euro-area leaders have also erected a firewall around Spain and Italy to end the 21-month sovereign bond crisis.

Dennis Gartman, the economist and editor who correctly forecast 2008’s commodities slump, said today in his Suffolk, Virginia-based Gartman Letter that he’ll buy more gold priced in euros and pounds. He had sold some of his gold holdings earlier this month.

Investors boosted gold holdings in exchange-traded products to a record 2,122.6 metric tons on July 20. Assets were 2,120.3 tons on July 22, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Hedge funds and other money managers lifted their net-long gold position by 7.3 percent to 238,319 futures and options contracts in the week to July 19, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.

Silver for immediate delivery climbed 1.3 percent to $40.605 an ounce. Palladium was little changed at $806.50 an ounce. Platinum was down 0.1 percent at $1,792.50 an ounce.(Bloomberg)


European shares fell on Monday, July 25 from their highest in more than a week in the previous session as investors cut riskier assets on the possibility of a first-ever U.S. debt default after talks between Democrats and Republicans again collapsed.

At 0704 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.6 percent at 1,102.33 points after closing 0.5 percent higher on Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders have tried to reassure global markets that the country will be able to service its debt and meet other obligations after Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department will have exhausted its reserves.

"The markets were hopeful that by now something would have been agreed. I don't think a U.S. debt default has been completely ruled out by the markets," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
"At the end of the day, there is a huge amount of politics being played out. Investors are anxious to see some sort of agreement finalised. The results season has been a little bit better than a lot of people thought, but we would certainly like to see the U.S. debt situation put behind us."

A Moody's downgrade of Greece's sovereign debt ratings by three notches also hurt sentiment. The ratings agency said the country still faced serious medium term solvency challenges despite the fresh bailout package.
Financial stocks were among the top losers, with the STOXX Europe 600 banking index falling 1.3 percent.

Dexia fell 5.4 percent, while UniCredit dropped 4.5 percent.(Reuters)


The securities of WIJAYA BARU GLOBAL BHD and the warrants rose in active trade on Monday, July 25, though there was no positive news from the  timber-property based company.

At 4.35pm, the shares rose 9.5 sen to 74.5 sen with 13.60 million shares done.

The warrants, Wijaya-WA climbed 4.5 sen to 16 sen and it was the most active with 29.24 million units done.  The warrants are out-of-the money.

The FBM KLCI fell 4.92 points to 1,560.14. Turnover was 760.53 million shares valued at RM1.15 billion. There were 173 gainers, 543 losers and 266 stocks unchanged.

The warrants, issued in September 2007, expire in September 2012. The conversion ratio is one warrant for each share. The exercise price is RM1.25.

The warrants were issued for free to the subscribers of renounceable rights issue of RM110.36 million nominal value of five-year 7% irredeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks (ICULS) at 100% of its nominal value on the basis of one free detachable warrants for every RM1 rights ICULS subscribed for.

The issue price for the ICULS was RM1 and the exercise price was RM1.25. The loan stocks expire in September 2012.

In the quarter ended March 31, 2011, it posted pre-tax loss of RM909,000 on the back of RM124,000 in revenue. However, share of net results of an associated company of RM4.52 million nudged it into the black with net profit of RM3.22 million.(


At 9:20am, Eng Teknologi rose six sen to RM2.34 with 711,000 shares traded. It is believed that its shares rose
after its major shareholders, who own 23.21% of the Penang-based company, made a takeover offer of the remaining shares in a RM307 million corporate exercise.

TYK Capital Sdn Bhd had offered to acquire the entire business and undertakings (including all the assets and liabilities), for RM2.50 per share. (


At 9.05am, Latexx shares fell five sen to RM2.13 while its warrants lost 11 sen to RM1.60. Shares dropped due to YTY Industry Holdings Sdn Bhd had withdrawn its offer to merge its four glove-making subsidiaries unit with it.

CIMB Research in a note July 25 said the aborted Latexx Partners-YTY merger was a negative surprise as indications from both parties in recent weeks were optimistic.

The biggest winner from this is Hartalega, which remains the world’s largest nitrile glovemaker, it said.
CIMB Research said Hartalega trades at a forward P/E of only 9.1x despite having sector-leading profitability (38% ROE) and yields (5.1%).

This is the second deal Latexx has failed to consummate in six months and we now attribute a higher risk premium to the stock, it said.

“We maintain our forecasts but downgrade Latexx from Trading Buy to NEUTRAL. Our target is cut from RM2.60 to RM2.44 based on a lower forward P/E of 9.8x (previously 10.4x) or a 25% discount (previously 20%) to Top Glove.

“While the news is negative, we believe it’s balanced by better 2H11 results. We recommend a switch to Kossan, our top pick. (


At 9:05am, the stock dropped 18.5 sen to 56.6 sen.

Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, a Malaysian company yet to have an income-generating business, fell 25 per cent in its debut on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange.

The company which was specifically set up to undertake an initial public offering to raise funds for potential acquisitions of oil and gas companies, sold shares at 75 sen each in its IPO, according to its prospectus. 
( Bloomberg )


Kuala Lumpur: National railway company Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) is segregating its core businesses under a two-phase restructuring plan, with the aim of being more efficient and profitable.

Under the Government Transformation Plan, 33 listed and unlisted government-linked companies will undergo restructuring in various stages, including KTMB, to operate more efficiently.

"The restructuring is a major step for KTMB to focus on its core business of transporting people and goods to be profitable. It has been difficult for KTMB to make money due to high operational cost," a source told Business Times.

Company sources said KTMB's cargo and multi modal units will be combined and parked under a new company called KTMB Logistics Sdn Bhd.

The chief executive officer for KTMB Logistics, now involved in freight train operation services, is Datuk Alias Kadir who is a KTMB board member.

Multi modal provides ocean shipping, road haulages and port clearance services.

A source said KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan will head the passenger train services, railway infrastructure and rolling stocks.

The second phase of the restructuring will see the separation of the train operation services, rolling stocks and railway infrastructure from KTMB's operation. Railway infrastructure includes land, buildings, stations and tracks.

The assets will be managed by Railway Assets Corp (RAC), headed by Abdul Kadir Latiff, the source said. RAC, which owns all the assets and is wholly-owned by the Ministry of Transport, will lease them back to KTMB at a fixed cost.

The assets were acquired by the government over a number of years and were parked under RAC to manage. However, KTMB took over the management of the assets as RAC did not have enough manpower.

It is learnt a consultant has been appointed by the Minister of Finance Inc (MOF) to study the track access fee and leasing cost for KTMB.

According to the Auditor-General's report tabled in Parliament last October, KTMB recorded RM1.45 billion in accumulative net losses up until 2008 and cannot "afford" to pay back its own operational costs and loans.

KTMB has been bleeding red ink since it was corporatised in 1992 due to high operating costs. Nevertheless, it did make a net profit of RM9 million to RM15 million from 1993 to 1995, before falling into the red again in the following years.

It is understood that the company broke even last year, led by cost-cutting measures and improvement in train services.

Meanwhile, Aminuddin's contract, which expires on August 1, has been extended by the MOF by two years.

The source said that Aminuddin has accepted the offer. He was not available for comment.(Business Times)


Stocks on Wall Street bucked a global rally in the wake a new agreement on a Greek financing plan.
Instead investors weighed Caterpillar's disappointing results, though stocks still notched a strong weekly advance.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 43.25 points, or 0.3%, to 12,681.16 and was up1.6% on the week, the third rise in the past four weeks. The Dow is up 2.2% for July and are just 1% from highest close of 2011, the 12,810.54 hit on April 29.

The S&P 500 index edged up 0.1% to 1345.02, leaving it up 2.2% for the week, the third advance in the past four weeks. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.9% to 2858.83. The index surged 2.5% this past week, the fourth rise in the past five weeks.

Other markets: Banks lead worldwide advance

Banks led a European stock advance on the plan to ease Greece's debt burden and contain the region's debt crisis. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.6% to 272.02, the third consecutive winning session.

The new rescue for Greece includes a plan for private creditors to voluntarily exchange existing Greek bonds for new bonds that will mature far in the future.

In London, the FTSE 100 index rose 0.6% to 5935.02, adding up to a 1.6% weekly advance. In Paris, the CAC-40 index rose 0.7% to 3842.70, giving it a weekly climb of 3.1%. In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 index rose 0.5% to 7326.39, leaving it up 1.5% for the week.

Asian stock markets rose sharply. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.2% to 10,132.11, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 1% to 4602.90, Korea's Kospi advanced 1.2% to 2171.23 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 2.1% to 22444.80.

The performance helped most of the major stock benchmarks in the region to end the week higher. The Nikkei gained 1.6% for the week, Australian benchmark rose 2.9% and the Hang Seng added 2.6%, the fourth advance in the past five weeks for all three.

But the Shanghai Composite Index finished the week with a 1.8% loss to 2770.79, snapping a four-week rally, amid worries about an economic slowdown and high inflation. Indian shares reversed a two-session decline. The Bombay Sensex rose 1.6% to end at 18,722.30, its highest closing level since July 8.

Commodities: Remain settles below $US100, gold up

Crude-oil futures climbed for a fourth straight day and settled at a fresh six-week high, on anticipation of higher prices next week. For the second day in a row crude topped $US100-a-barel in intraday trading but couldn't hold triple digits at the settlement amid lingering doubts about the strength of near-term oil demand in the US.

Light, sweet crude oil for September delivery in New York settled 74USc higher at $US99.87 a barrel, after hitting a high of $US100.19 a barrel, the highest level since June 10.

Gold futures rebounded above $US1600 an ounce ahead of the deadline to raise the US debt limit. Gold for August delivery climbed $US14.50, or 0.9%, to settle at $US1601.30 an ounce in New York. That is just short of the record settlement of $US1602.40 hit last Monday.

Currencies: Euro moves lower as sentiment turns

The euro fell against major currencies as the initial euphoria over Europe's solution to Greece's debt crisis wore off, suggesting the fundamental outlook for troubled euro-zone countries had not changed.
The euro was at $US1.4361 from $US1.4424 late on Thursday. The US dollar traded at ¥78.46 from ¥78.30, while the euro was at ¥112.67 from ¥112.98.

The UK pound bought $US1.6299 from $US1.6330. The dollar fetched 0.8196 Swiss franc from 0.8151 franc. (The National Business Review)


 * Firms reporting next week up after strong US, Japan
* Volumes pick up, suggest more upside risk before earnings
* Euro-sensitive shares gain on euro bounce
* Nikkei seen facing resistance seen at 10,207
Tokyo stocks climbed to a two-week high on Friday, led by banks that jumped on Morgan
Stanley's strong results and euro-sensitive issues such as Canon , up on the euro's 
gains after officials agreedon steps to solve Greece's debt woes. 
Individual investors as well as domestic institutional players dominated the market, 
participants said, adding that concerns about the yen's renewed strength against 
the dollar had capped gains. 
"Watch volumes on banks. This is still mostly long-term investors who previously 
owned the stock re-establishing positions, but we're also seeing some new buyers 
piling into these shares," said Takashi Ohba, a senior strategist at Okasan
The Nikkei rose 1.2 percent to 10,132.11, its highest close since July 8 and 
adding 1.6 percent for the week. The broader Topix rose 1 percent to 868.81. 
The benchmark on Friday jumped above resistance at 10,005, which was its tenkan
line on its daily Ichimoku cloud. 
"More firms posted earnings above expectations yesterday, defying worries over 
supply chains. That's why firms posting results next week are charging higher 
today," said a trader at a foreign brokerage who did not want to be quoted by 
Canon Marketing jumped 5.9 percent after hiking its profit forecast, while 
Tamron Co soared 7.0 percent to 1,971 yen, after the company lifted its net 
profit outlook and Nomura Securities upgraded the stock to "buy".  
"After these hikes and stronger-than-expected results from Wall Street, 
everyone is looking at firms reporting next week such as Toshiba and Komatsu," 
the trader said. 
Construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd added 1.4 percent to 2,539 yen, 
while electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp , already in favour this week 
after Apple Inc's strong earnings, gained 2.0 percent to 419 yen.     
Most investors are long in the market, suggesting sentiment towards Japanese 
stocks is overwhelmingly positive. 
"The Japanese equities long-short ratio reached an annual high of 12.28 on 
July 14. This denotes that there are over 12 times more longs than shorts 
in the market as institutional ownership in the region is close to annual 
highs," research firm 
Data Explorers said in a note to clients.   
Morgan Stanley wowed Wall Street on Thursday with results that far surpassed 
expectations, while an emergency summit of leaders of the 17-nation euro 
zone pledged on Thursday to conduct a second bailout of Greece.
These factors helped banks continue their relief rally into a fourth straight
day, with the sector subindex rising to a two-week high. They were led by 
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group , Japan's largest bank by assets, climbing 3.3 
percent to 407 yen in active trade. 
Goldman Sachs also said on Thursday that Japanese lenders were likely to 
report earnings consensus for the first quarter of this fiscal year in line 
or above the market's consensus, adding to banks' rally. The brokerage said Mitsubishi UFJ is its
top pick. 
"People are turning a bit more bullish, because you need financials to really 
push the whole market higher. Forget about any decent rally when that sector 
lags others," said Okasan's Ohba. 
He adds that banks' advance may help the Nikkei pop above its post-quake high 
of 10,207.91 heading into the earnings season next week. 
Banking shares were one of the worst-hit sectors after the March 11 disaster 
because of speculation that they may have to forgive some of their loans to 
Tokyo Electric Power Co , which is still struggling with the Fukushima 
radiation crisis. 
MUFG's shares are still down 8 percent from where they were before the 
earthquake. The bank shares subindex has fallen 11 percent since then, 
compared with a 2.9 percent fall in the Nikkei. 
Canon, which obtains about one third of its sales in Europe, rose 1.3 percent 
to 3,785 yen and Nikon, another euro-sensitive stock, gained 1.4 percent 
to 1,857 yen after the euro rose to a two-week high against the Japanese 
currency on Thursday. 
Volumes picked up with 1.8 billion shares changing hands on the main board, 
higher than this week's daily volumes of around 1.5 billion shares.(Reuters) 


Hong Kong shares gained on Friday, as global debt concerns appeared to ebb, giving investors a chance to focus on low valuations ahead of results from China Inc even as average turnover suggested a lack of conviction.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 2.1 percent on the day and 2.6 percent on the week at 22,444.8 points, while the China Enterprises Index closed up 2.2 percent on the day and 2.7 percent on the week at 12,598.8 points.

The Shanghai Composite Index snapped a four-day losing streak to edge up 0.2 percent on the day to 2,770.8 points. But it was not enough to prevent the benchmark from its first weekly loss in five as it finished down 1.8 percent.


* Shares of companies with large European businesses jumped. HSBC Holdings Ltd , Europe's largest bank and the largest single weight on the benchmark Hang Seng Index, was its biggest support with its largest one-day gain in six months.

* Fashion retailer Espirit Holdings gained more than 5 percent, its biggest intra-day gain since Valentine's Day this year. Espirit hit its 2011 high to date back then, but has since slid more than 43 percent from that peak. Espirit, for whom sales in Europe accounted for 79.1 percent of its total turnover for the nine-month period ending in March, had hit a seven-year low on Tuesday, before bouncing back up.

* A choppy market over the past two months has punished investors who follow near-term market trends while longer-term players have gravitated toward defensive low-beta names. With the markets showing signs of a short-term bounce traders said momentum followers, desperate to recover some of their losses from the previous quarter, were buying into counters with high beta values, or those more likely to outperform the benchmark, to get in front of a wider shift back to these names.

* China Cosco , with a beta of 2.3, which means the stock is likely to move twice as much as it underlying benchmark, rose 5.8 percent in more than twice its 30-day average volume. China National Building Materials , whose rally stalled in early July, rose nearly 4 percent.


* Power Assets Holdings Ltd is expected to announce its first half earnings results on Wednesday with Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd due on Thursday. (Reuters)


Singapore’s Straits Times Index increased 1.4% to 3,182.95 at the close. All but six stocks in the gauge of 30 companies advanced. The measure climbed 3.2% this week, the most since March.

Shares on the measure trade at an average 14.7 times estimated earnings, compared with about 15.6 times at the end of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The following shares were among the most active in the market. 

Developers: Shares of Singapore’s biggest homebuilders rallied after government data showed private residential prices rose by 2% in the second quarter compared with the previous three months.

CapitaLand (CAPL SP), Southeast Asia’s biggest developer, gained 2.4% to $2.95. City Developments (CIT SP), the second-largest homebuilder in Singapore, advanced 4% to $10.93. Keppel Land (KPLD SP), the rest estate unit of Keppel Corp. (KEP SP), increased 4.4% to $3.84.
Ascott Residence Trust (ART SP), a serviced-apartment operator partly owned by CapitaLand, gained 1.3% to $1.205. The company said second-quarter distributable income more than doubled to $26.3 million from $11.6 million a year earlier.
Broadway Industrial Group (BWAY SP), a maker of components used in disk drives, declined 1.2% to 41.5 cents. The company said second-quarter net income slumped 64% from a year earlier to $3.7 million.  
Dyna-Mac Holdings (DMHL SP), a provider of offshore engineering services, advanced 3.7% to 56  cents. The company said fourth-quarter net income climbed 29% from a year earlier to $7.6 million.
Keppel Corp. (KEP SP), the world’s biggest maker of oil platforms, climbed 3.1% to $11.16, the biggest advance since March 8. The company said second-quarter net income rose 9.3% from a year earlier to $384.9 million. That beat the average estimate of $341.5 million by four analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Kitchen Culture Holdings (KCH SP), a supplier of kitchen appliances, surged 10% to 33 cents on its first trading day. The company sold 17 million new shares at 30 cents each, raising total proceeds of $5.1 million.(The Edge Singapore)


Few stocks are needed to focus on for the Monday stock trading. Which also included Eng Teknologi Bhd,  after its major shareholders announced a RM307 million privatisation exercise.

Meanwhile another stocks that to watch include LATEXX PARTNERS BHD , PINTARAS JAYA BHD , Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Pintaras Jaya Bhd, PETRONAS GAS BHD  and also PUBLIC BANK BHD.

Public Bank is scheduled to release its second quarter results on Monday.

Eng Tek’s major shareholders, who own 23.21% of the Penang-based company, have made a takeover offer of the remaining shares in a RM307 million corporate exercise.

TYK Capital Sdn Bhd had offered to acquire the entire business and undertakings (including all the assets and liabilities), for RM2.50 per share.

This is 12 sen above the last trading price of RM2.28. The share price closed 14 sen higher at RM2.28 on Friday.

Latexx, which fell 11 sen to RM2.18 on Friday, with 16.44 million shares traded could continue to see some downside pressure.  The selling was ahead of the company’s announcement of the failed proposed merger again.

YTY Industry Holdings Sdn Bhd had withdrawn its offer to merge its four glove-making subsidiaries unit with Latexx Partners.  YTY had in writing expressed its intention not to continue with the proposed merger estimated at RM1.25 billion.
After an operational due diligence and further assessment on the YTY Group, Latexx had on Thursday presented its findings and indicated its intention to make a further revised offer. However, YTY decided not to go ahead with the merger.
Hibiscus Petroleum – a special purpose acquisition company – will make its debut on Monday. Its public issue of 10 million new shares at 75 sen each made available to the public was oversubscribed 3.8 times.
Pintaras Jaya secured a RM21.5 million contract for the piling and pile caps for a condominium project along Jalan Conlay in Kuala Lumpur.

Work is scheduled to start on Aug 1 and completed in nine months. It expected the contract to contribute positively to the group's future earnings.

Petronas Gas Bhd is reported to be planning a RM1.2 billion fund raising exercise to finance its 300MW gas-fired Kimanis power plant in Sabah.

This would be undertaken though project financing while the rest would be from equity financing. Petronas Gas is said to be looking at Sukuk bonds or a term loans for the 80% of the funding while the remaining 20% would be financed from equity. (


This screen grab of an undated photograph on shows the central suspect of the Norway terror attacks, named by sources as Anders Behring Breivik, July 23, 2011. Photo by Facebook via Getty Images

Twin attacks in Norway, the deadliest since World War II, left 91 people dead after a gunman killed 84 people at a youth camp on an island near Oslo and a bomb explosion in the center of the capital killed seven.
A 32-year-old Norwegian man with an Oslo residence and farm in the eastern part of the country was arrested in the attacks, police said at a briefing in Oslo today. Authorities declined to confirm local media reports identifying the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik.

“He has been charged in both the explosion in the center of the government area and also the shooting,” Roger Andresen, deputy Oslo police chief, told reporters today. The two counts of “dangerous crimes to society” mean he could receive 21 years in prison, Norway’s toughest punishment, he said.

The blast in central Oslo yesterday afternoon shattered windows at the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and other government buildings. Hundreds were attending the camp organized by the youth wing of Stoltenberg’s Labor Party on the island of Utoeya, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Oslo when the shooting rampage took place. The suspect was arrested on the island. Stoltenberg said the attacks wouldn’t interrupt the functioning of government.

Living Hell

“Not since World War II has our country experienced a greater tragedy,” Stoltenberg said in a speech. “For me, Utoeya was the paradise island of my youth that was transformed into hell.”

The suspect’s farm in the small eastern town of Rena is listed as Breivik Geofarm on his alleged Facebook page. Andresen described the man as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing tendencies. He had no previous record of offenses, police said.

On his alleged Twitter account, Breivik made his one and only one post on July 17, writing: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

Two policemen stood outside the 4-story brick apartment building listed as Breivik’s address in a quiet residential area of west Oslo. An officer, who declined to be named due to the ongoing investigation, said all persons entering the building were being checked and a forensic team was due to arrive. He declined to confirm that Breivik resided at the premises.

Hemen Noaman, a 27-year-old accounting consultant living in the building, said Breivik’s mother resided in the apartment and that her son would often visit her. “I have seen him, but I never spoken with him,” said Noaman, who has lived 10 years in the building, adding that “the mother has been gone since yesterday or the day before.”

Norway Mourns

Municipalities and cities throughout Norway were setting up crisis centers to receive relatives of the victims from the Utoeya shootings. From Tromsoe in the far north of the rugged Nordic country with 4.9 million inhabitants to Oslo in the south, flags were flown at half-mast in remembrance of the victims.

“We counter terror and violence with more democracy,” Labor Party Youth leader Eskil Pedersen said at a press conference today. “It will change Norway, hopefully for the better.”

Police, who would not speculate about a motive, “see a connection between the attack in Oslo center and the attack on the island because both are at political sites,” Anders Frydenberg, an Oslo police spokesman, said by telephone. “That’s the connection between the two attacks.” He declined to say whether police believe the current suspect was the only one involved in the crimes.

Global Sympathy

Neighboring Sweden had a brush with what police treated as a possible terrorist attack in December when a suicide bomber injured two people in central Stockholm.

“From a Swedish perspective, we’re following the ongoing development,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said. “There is still a lot that is unclear about what has happened.”

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen sent a statement conveying his “deepest sympathy and solidarity” with the Norwegian people.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the attacks showed that “no country large or small” is immune to such violence. In comments to reporters at the White House, Obama said the bombing demonstrates the need for enhanced intelligence sharing.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms the heinous acts of violence in Norway.” In a statement, he called the acts “cruel and cowardly.”

Windows Shattered

Before the explosion, a car drove into the government quarter, the police said in a statement. No government ministers were hurt, Stoltenberg told broadcaster NRK. Eirik Borg, a back office worker at stockbrokerage Fearnley Fonds based near the scene, said he saw smoke billowing from the government quarter after hearing the blast.

“We felt the impact very hard throughout the building,” Borg said in a phone interview. “All the windows were breaking and we actually thought lightning hit our roof. From our terrace, we saw white smoke.”

The bombing initially sent Norway’s currency and stocks lower. The krone weakened as much as 1 percent against the dollar and was trading 0.4 percent lower at 8:30 p.m. local time yesterday. Against the euro, the krone was little changed at 7.7851 after losing as much as 0.4 percent. The benchmark OBX stock index fell as much as 0.4 percent before closing little changed.

The country’s Ministry of Petroleum suffered “massive damage” as a consequence of the blast, spokesman Haakon Smith- Isaksen said by phone. Norway is the world’s seventh-largest oil exporter.

“There was a huge explosion, the windows just blew out,” Smith-Isaken said.(Bloomberg)


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