Monday, December 24, 2012

World Bank Upbeat On Malaysian Economy

KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank says Malaysia will be able to weather a weak global environment next year, thanks to its resilient domestic demand.

Malaysia had performed well this year despite weakening demand from advanced economies and China, the bank said. 

This dichotomy, it added, can be sustained next year. 

In its latest East Asia and Pacific Outlook, the World Bank has projected Malaysia to grow by 5.0 per cent in 2013. 

"There is momentum in investment growth. A number of projects that contributed to the surge in investment in the first half of 2012 will continue to contribute a larger amount of value-added to the economy in the near term.

"There is a positive feedback loop among the implementation of investment projects, fiscal policy, and private consumption," it said, referring to the tight labour market which will support consumption growth.

The World Bank does not expect commodity prices to decline significantly in 2013, which will provide support to fiscal policy and investment growth.

Global outlook for next year will improve compared to 2012.

"Should a new shock lead to a significant deviation from this baseline, exports would contract and commodity prices would decline, which would unravel the favourable dynamics described above."

Malaysia's near-term outlook hinges on the structural reforms.

But it also said Malaysia's fiscal policy will have to walk a fine line towards consolidation without disrupting the growth momentum.

"Malaysia's near-term outlook owes much to commodity sectors."

It said a significant portion of investments had been directly in the oil and gas sector, the expansion in public consumption and capital formation had been financed to a significant degree by commodity revenues (present and future), while investments in real estate are, to some extent, also linked to the recycling of commodity revenues.

"These investments are part of a sound strategy to ensure that the resource sector continues to provide revenues in years to come."

But it warned that, by themselves, they bring risks related to possible shocks to commodity prices and, conversely, higher commodity prices may lead to "Dutch disease" and a loss of competitiveness in tradeable manufacturing and services sectors.

"To mitigate these risks, Malaysia needs to accelerate the implementation of productivity-enhancing reforms to boost capabilities and competition, and thus raise productivity of non-commodity sectors."

-- BTimes

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bursa's Performance Will Not Affect GE Outcome

PETALING JAYA (Dec 21, 2012): There is little correlation between stock market rallies and general election (GE) results in Malaysia, said M & A Securities Sdn Bhd, based on its examinations of the past six election results.

"Based on the results of the percentage of seats that the incumbent government Barisan Nasional (BN) won in the previous six elections in Malaysia and the performance of the FBM KLCI, there has been low correlation of only 0.4 between the performance of the stock market and the results of the GEs," said the research firm in a report on Wednesday.

"Therefore, we can surmise that the performance of the stock market does not have much bearing on the outcome of GEs in so far as the BN is concerned."

M&A Securities said this also means the "feel good wealth factor" from a good stock market performance does not necessarily translates into a better election performance for the incumbent BN government.

"If we examine the past six GE results, the percentage of BN Parliamentary seats have been swinging between one GE to the next GE from the high to the low and the low to the high and so it has been repeated.

"Therefore, the "pendulum theory" whereby election results see-saw between high and low from one GE to the next GE has more proof to it than the theory that a good stock market performance will translate into a strong incumbent government BN performance in the upcoming GE," it added.

M&A Securities recalled that 2008 was an isolated incident where a bad stock market performance preceded the worst GE outcome for BN since 1969.

"In 2008, the stock market was down 9.7% year-to-date as at March 7, 2008 prior to the March 8 GE. That year, the BN had its worst outcome in the election where it was denied its customary two-thirds majority and won only 63% of parliamentary seats.

"However, one outlier does not proof that a bad stock market performance preceding a GE will lead to a bad GE result for the incumbent government BN," said M&A Securities.

"Similarly, in 1986, when the FBM KLCI was down 4.6% as at Aug 1 1986 prior to the Aug 3 GE, the BN had one of its best performances with 86% of the parliamentary seats," it added.

M&A Securities noted that the FBM KLCI has year-to-date performed well in 2012, in line with regional bourses.

"This year, the FBM KLCI has rose 7.8% as at Dec 13.

"How the stock market will perform in the first quarter of 2013 is debatable as the fund managers may want to re-balance their portfolio from the high beta stocks, which are laden in the FBM KLCI 30 index weightage, into the low beta stocks such as plantation, oil and gas and consumer stocks which have less constituents in the FBM KLCI 30 index and therefore, this strategy may not push the FBM KLCI by much but may either push it down or sideways," it said, adding that 13th GE is likely to be held in March or April next year.

-- TheSun

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2013

Today is the mark of beginning New World Age according to Mayan Prophecy/Calendar (after 7am). This transition of World Ages is calling us to re-connect with nature's wisdom - re-establish our harmonious interconnection with all of life that we may awaken our human potential and align with the next evolutionary stage that earth is entering into. Today we should be lucky enough as we are still here and reading my below greetings. Cheers!

Happy Merry Christmas! 
Wishing you and your family have a very wonderful day and may this festival bring abundant joy and happiness in your life!

Well, another fresh year is almost here, another brand new year to live!

Last but not least,
Wishing our Bursa Malaysia will bring us more $,$$$,$$$ in 2013!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

General Election May Rejuvenate Local Stock Market

THE upcoming 13th general election may rejuvenate Malaysia's weak stock market and continue bucking the trend in the first half of 2013.

Malaysia has until April next year to dissolve Parliament and until June to hold a general election.

Nomura International (Hong Kong) Ltd managing director and chief Asia equity strategist and global head of equity strategy Michael Kurtz said the long awaited 13th elections should be the key driver for Malaysian equities in the first half of 2013 overshadowing other challenging macro global factors.

The global factors, including slower economic growth prospects in China and Europe, the Greece debt crisis and the US economic slowdown, could result in near-term volatility for the market.

"In our view, the uncertainties surrounding the election outlook, coupled with the investors' unwillingness to take risk ahead of the elections, could result in extreme volatility in equity prices," Kurtz said here yesterday at a media briefing on its Asia Pacific outlook 2013.

Kurtz said Nomura Equity Research is maintaining its assumption that the ruling government would win by a majority similar to what it holds currently and any weaknesses in the market would present a good buying opportunity.

He said Malaysia's stock market has been soft over the past nine months as investors' exposure to Malaysia is relatively lower compared to other Asian markets which are more sought after.

To ride through the volatility period ahead of the elections, Kurtz said investors should be well positioned in the defensive sectors such as telecommunications stocks, which Nomura has raised to overweight from neutral, and maintains a bullish stance on banking, construction, plantations, and oil and gas sectors.

The Japanese research house has selected stocks such as Axiata, Maybank, Sime Darby, AirAsia, WCT, SapuraKencana, CIMB, Genting, Media Prima and MMC Crop as its top picks.

Nomura said Malaysia's better-than-expected third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth and the expected resilient fourth quarter estimates would continue to support further upward revisions in the next few months.

"As a result of the good third quarter, we now expect full-year 2012 GDP growth of 5.3 per cent (up from 4.8 per cent last year) and we believe this is achievable as China is expected to rebound in the fourth quarter of this year, which should benefit commodity exporters such as Malaysia."

On Asia, Nomura Equity Research is bullish on Asia's stock markets but it gave "underweight" outlook on Southeast Asian countries which include Malaysia.

Kurtz said it's not that Asian stocks are not good but equity markets in North Asia are looking more attractive in terms of value, in line with an improved global economic outlook.

Kurtz said North Asian markets such as in South Korea and Japan have been shunned for the past few years due to their cyclical nature and volatility but with the change in economic factors, they are working in favour for these markets compared to Asean which has always been perceived as defensive in nature. 

-- By Zaidi Isham Ismail 

Monday, December 17, 2012

My 1st Reaction as Stock Market Newbie #1

OxO * Old time story for my memory refreshment * OxO

I was getting my first full time job in 1995 with a salary of RM1.5K per month. As a fresh graduate (under graduate at that time), the important is to work, get experience and move step by step through corporate ladder. I think most of us are following the same path – study and graduate, find job and earn the paycheck. I am still novice and did not have any plan what I want to be in next few years or how I want to use my paycheck. I just keep working and save some money. By end of 1995, I have my saving around RM15K in bank.

My dad one day talk to me, he mention about stock market, shares, remisier, broker, buying lots, politics, this and that. I know nothing about it. What is that? I am rather dumb and I did not read much newspaper as well! He said I can use some of my saving to invest in the market and the investment will keep growing in years to come. So I follow what he said, I open my first account with Hwang DBS.

Here I go, now I can buy shares and own small tiny little pie as shareholder of a company. I was thinking, should I use all my saving? My only first knowledge about stock market is 'Put my saving in shares, it will go up in long term'. So I decided to throw all RM15K into the stock market.

My dad did recommend me to buy a few counters, if I remember correctly it is MULPHA around RM1.3x and TANCO around RM1.9x (property counter) per lot. I just follow and buy and fully use up all RM15K. At that time I have no commitment to made, so I have no problem to let my saving floated in the market. 

I has been told to read more on business newspaper, so I just follow and start reading on business columns. Most of the time, I read the shares price columns (there is lack of internet services around that time, the only info I can get is from newspaper). Few weeks later, I was surprise to see both counters start moving up. This is the best moment of joy! I look for MULPHA and TANCO, seeing the price appreciation, make me feel good - Yes, my investment really bear fruits. I smile happily.

To be continue.....

My Stock Trading Journey Stories
Next: My 1st Reaction As Stock Market Newbie #2

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Will Tiger Synergy Live Up To Its Name?

LILY is a flower that symbolises unions, partnership and long lasting relationships. It is just the medicine ordered by the doctor for Tiger Synergy Bhd, a company that many still are unsure if it is a genuine takeover target or a well drawn plan by a beautiful mind.

One thing is for sure, Tiger is no Ingenuity Solutions Bhd. Thus far, nobody has walked from Low Yat Plaza to Federal Hotel, to announce to the media, that they want to take over Tiger.

Tiger's biggest misfortune is that the tussle comes just months after the Ingenuity Solutions takeover offer that left many investors losing their pants.

To recap, Ninetology Marketing Sdn Bhd had offered in September to buy out the major shareholders of Ingenuity at 55 sen a share in a deal valued at RM360 million.

The deal would have resulted in Chin Boon Long, who had a 29.15 per cent stake in Ingenuity, walking away with a cool RM90 million and booking a gross profit of about RM70 million.

Chin, however, rejected the offer. Today, Ingenuity trades at about 10 sen a share. Chin made the news again in November when he emerged as a substantial shareholder in Takaso Resources Bhd. Takaso stole the trading limelight this month when the shares hit the roof in a single trading day.

Investors are genuinely concerned that Tiger could be a "value trap". As one seasoned investor noted, the concern is that once you buy large quantities of the share, the fear is that the whole battle will die down and the shares will tank.

The plus point for those keen on Tiger are the personalities behind the tussle - namely the two new shareholders. The duo, Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Zabidi and Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, are respected businessmen. 

Abdul Azim was a former chairman of Bank Simpanan Nasional Bhd while Mohd Nadzmi was a former chairman of Proton Holdings Bhd. They are unlikely to risk their reputation just to help "fry" the stock.

To their credit, they have kept silent, built up their stake in Tiger, and then sought to remove Tiger's entire five-member board of directors via an extraordinary shareholders meeting.

Since the duo had bought the shares in Tiger via privately held companies, one could assume that their intention is to hold on to Tiger's main board listing status. 

In today's marketplace, the listing status itself could be worth anywhere from RM5 million to RM20 million.

The motion to dismiss the entire Tiger board drew an immediate response from the company. A media report quoted Tiger's executive director Shirley Tan Lee Chin as saying "having the unusual market activity and volatility in the share price is not in the best interest of our minority shareholders".

It should be noted that since the rumours started circulating on a possible play for the company, Tiger had done some cool placement business.

In November, cash flowed into the company via proceeds from two tranches of private placement, raising more than RM10.8 million, while proceeds from the conversion of warrants into mother share came up to about RM4 million thus far.

Not bad for a company that had less than RM2 million in cash before November, while minority shareholders saw the value of their shares briefly surpass the 49 sen a share level this year, a price level last seen in 2008.

For those of us who have forgotten, Tiger was just a 10 sen stock a year ago.

The EGM, if it does take place, will help clear investors concern that all this is just not a show.

Assuming the showdown at the EGM does indeed take place, Tiger is poised be live up to its name and lay its claim as the first "super bull" stock in the Year of the Water Snake. 

--Francis Fernandez

Thursday, December 13, 2012

NASDAQ OMX To Power Bursa Trading

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia and NASDAQ OMX Group Inc,today announced that Bursa Malaysia has selected NASDAQ OMX to power its securities market trading through NASDAQ OMX's industry leading technology, X-Stream INET.

The new platform will handle trading of equities, fixed income, ETF, funds and issuer warrants for Bursa Malaysia. X-Stream INET's system robustness and speed will drive exchange innovation for Bursa Malaysia to attract a variety of market participants and create innovative products and services to match international demand. The deployment is scheduled during the first quarter of 2014. NASDAQ OMX was selected in competition with a number of global exchange technology

Dato' TajuddinAtan, CEO, Bursa Malaysia, said, "As we aimed to complete a major technology refresh for our securities market and build on our overall strategic business roadmap, we wanted a trading technology that would satisfy our demands and desire for growth. Selecting NASDAQ OMX's X-Stream INET was a sign of this commitment to our customers and our growth towards becoming the center of ASEAN's multinational marketplace. We feel we have chosen the right partner for our future and look forward to a successful implementation of X-Stream INET."

Anna Ewing, Executive Vice President and CIO, NASDAQ OMX, said: "We are happy to be partnering with one of the leading exchanges in Asia. Bursa Malaysia is both an attractive IPO destination and a hub for Islamic finance. As Bursa Malaysia looks to advance its growth strategy and expand on its vision of delivering industry-leading products and services, we're dedicated to supporting its endeavors through our technology."

NASDAQ OMX's X-stream trading technology is currently used by 22 exchanges globally and has recently been named the world's fastest trading system by independent latency measurement specialists. -- Bernama

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The World's Best Places to Live 2012

Can there be a city that is crime and pollution free, with excellent public transport and great schools to boast?

Human resources consulting firm Mercer has put together a list of cities that come closest to offering you all that. In its 2012 Quality of Living report it looks at living conditions in 221 cities worldwide and ranks them against New York as a base city in 10 categories - economy, socio-cultural environment, politics, education, and healthcare.

1. Vienna, Austria

Austria's most populous city – Vienna – has won the title of the world's best city for quality of life since 2009. It is also one of eight European cities to make the top 10 list, showing the region's dominance in the survey.

Vienna is the cultural, economic, and political center of the country. It has the highest per capita GDP among all Austrian cities at over $55,000. Vienna's ability to transform old infrastructure into modern dwellings won the city the 2010 United Nations urban planning award for improving the living conditions of its residents. Under a multimillion-dollar program, the city refurbished more than 5,000 buildings with nearly 250,000 apartments. Vienna is also the world's No. 1 destination for conferences, drawing five million tourists a year — equivalent to three tourists for every resident.

The country's economy has, however, not been immune to the crisis plaguing Europe, and shrunk 0.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, as the European Union entered its second recession since 2009.

2. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland's largest city, keeps the number two spot from last year after holding the title of the city with the best quality of life in the world previously. It is also one of three Swiss cities to make the top 10 rankings – tying with Germany for the most number of cities on the list.

Known as a global financial center, one out of every nine jobs in Switzerland is based in Zurich. Its low tax rates attract overseas companies and the assets of the 82 banks based there are equivalent to more than 85 percent of the total value of assets held in Switzerland. The city is also the country's biggest tourist destination, famous for its lakeside location and chain of hills that run from north to south, providing an extensive range of leisure activities.

The cost of living in Zurich is the sixth highest in the world, according to Mercer. Both Zurich and Geneva make Switzerland the most expensive country to live in in Western Europe. The city also attracts people to buy luxury properties here, because of its low taxes, safety record and good education system, according to real estate firm Knight Frank.

3. Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand's largest and most populous city, Auckland, offers the best quality of life in the Asia-Pacific region, now for the second year in a row. It has been consistently placed within the top five best places to live in for the past six years.

Auckland is uniquely set between two harbors, with 11 extinct volcanoes and numerous islands making it the city with the world's largest boat ownership per person. Auckland is New Zealand's economic powerhouse - its 1.4 million people account for more than 30 percent of the country's population and contribute 35 percent to the country's GDP. Auckland is also home to the most educated people in the country, with nearly 37 percent of its working population holding a bachelor's degree or higher.

In March, the city launched a 30-year initiative called "The Auckland Plan" to make it the world's most livable city. The plan aims to tackle challenges in transport, housing, job creation and environment protection. However, the city has been impacted by the global economic slowdown. In the third quarter New Zealand's unemployment rate hit a 13-year high of 7.3 percent.

4. Munich, Germany

Munich is Germany's third largest city and one of the country's key economic centers. It is also one of three German cities to dominate the top 10 rankings for the best quality of life.

Holding on its fourth spot from last year, Munich is home to some of Germany's most notable businesses, including engineering firm Siemens and insurer Allianz. The city generates nearly 30 percent of the gross domestic product of the State of Bavaria. Munich's per capita purchasing power was more than $33,700 in 2011, the highest among all German cities and 30 percent above the national average. Drawing immigrants to its industries from all over the world, more than a fifth of the city's residents are foreigners.

Munich ties fellow German city Frankfurt for having the second best infrastructure in the world, according to Mercer. In total, four German cities including Dusseldorf and Hamburg dominate the top 10 infrastructure rankings highlighting the country's first-class airports and high standard of public services.

5. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is the only Canadian and North American city to make the top 10 list this year, similar to 2011.

Vancouver has made it to a number of rankings on the world's most livable cities over the past decade and has been among the top five in the Mercer quality of living survey for the past six years. Home to one of the mildest climates in Canada, Vancouver is also its greenest city with the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America. Surrounded by water and snowy mountains, Vancouver's government constantly promotes green building, planning, and technology with the ambition of becoming the world's greenest city by 2020.

In terms of infrastructure, Vancouver also tops the rankings for North America at ninth with Montreal and Atlanta landing in 13th place. Overall, Canadian cities still dominate the top of the rankings for North America despite only Vancouver making it into the global top 10. Ottawa comes in at 14, Toronto at 15 and Montreal at 23, while it's closet U.S. competitor is Honolulu at 28 globally.

6. Dusseldorf, Germany

German city Dusseldorf fell one spot from last year's rankings to take the sixth spot in 2012. However, the city has made Mercer's top 10 rankings for the best quality of life for the past six years.

The city by the river Rhine is the seventh most populated in Germany and is renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. With more than 100 galleries, Dusseldorf is Germany's art capital.

Dusseldorf's high standard of living is a big draw for the ultra-wealthy. The city ranks second only to Munich for the highest population in Germany of people with a net worth $30 million or more at 1,380, according to research firm Wealth-X. Earlier this year, local media also reported that the city has more millionaires than any other German city.

7. Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, the largest financial center in continental Europe, retains the seventh spot from last year's rankings of the best places to live.

Germany's fifth largest city, it is home to major institutions such as the European Central Bank and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Frankfurt is also a major transport hub for central Europe given its modern infrastructure, including an integrated high-speed rail network and a busy international airport. The city ranks second only to Singapore in the world for its infrastructure, according to Mercer.

The city is also building a reputation for its environment-friendly initiatives. In 2008, a "low emission zone" was set up in the city and only vehicles with a green badge reflecting low emissions are allowed to enter the area. The aim is to reduce pollution and maintain air quality levels in Frankfurt. More than 50 percent of the city consists of open green spaces and waterways.

8. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland's second most populous city and home to several international organizations, holds on to the eighth spot it earned in 2011.

Located at the foot of the Swiss Alps, along the banks of Lake Geneva, the city's natural environment also makes it one of the greenest cities in Europe. About 20 percent of Geneva is covered by green areas, giving it the name "city of parks." The city has benefited from strict air pollution laws and other environmental regulations, given that it is the base of many global environmental groups.
As home to a large expatriate community with over 40 percent of its population being foreigners, the cost of living in Geneva is the highest in Western Europe. It's considered the fifth most expensive city in the world, according to Mercer. The cosmopolitan hub is also home to the world's most expensive private schools and is said to have one of the best education systems globally. Geneva's strong economy is also boosted by the fact that it is the world's No. 1 center for oil trading, seeing 35 percent of global volume.

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, has held on to the ninth spot from last year and marks its sixth consecutive appearance on Mercer's list of the top 15 cities to live in.

Health and well-being is a big priority for the Danish people with nearly a quarter of them aged 60 and older, according to government data. Increased health awareness has translated into Denmark becoming one of the leading consumers and producers of organic food in Europe. Almost 75 percent of food served by city-run businesses like daycares in Copenhagen is organic. Copenhagen is also known as the city of cyclists with a total 218 miles of cycle tracks, resulting in about 35 percent of its population commuting by bicycle every day.

Despite being lauded for its high quality of life, Denmark's economy has struggled, impacted by the euro zone debt crisis. The Danish economy shrank0.4 percent in the second quarter of the year. Consumption, one of the country's main growth drivers, has remained weak even with record-low interest rates, due in part to a property bubble bust in 2007 that has left many households in debt and cautious over spending.

10. Bern, Switzerland

Bern, the capital of Switzerland, fell one spot this year to tie with Sydney at No. 10 after coming in 9th in the quality of living survey for the previous four years.

Located in the Swiss plateau, Bern has been able to maintain its medieval charm. In 1983, its city center known as the old town of Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Often ranked among the most expensive cities in the world, Bern is the center of Swiss engineering and manufacturing with medical, information technology, automotive, and luxury products such as watches made there.

Last year it was ranked as the second safest city to live in the world after Luxembourg, according to Mercer's survey. Switzerland's reputation as the traditional banking safe haven for the world's wealthy has made it an attractive place for relocation. However, growing immigration has become a major cause of concern for locals who fear that an inflow of foreigners is threatening the Alpine's country's high standard of living. In November, a Swiss environmentalist group presented the government with 120,000 signatures to force a referendum on immigration by calling for an annual limit on the country's population growth via immigration to 0.2 percent. The Swiss population hit the 8 million mark this year – a 140 percent rise from 1990.