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||Asean Affairs 12 July 2012
ASEAN Market Outlook
By Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
The Dow and Nasdaq slipped on Wednesday as minutes from the Federal Reserve's June meeting showed policymakers are open to the idea of more economic stimulus, but that conditions might need to worsen first.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI declined 48.59 points, or 0.38 percent, to end unofficially at 12,604.53. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX inched down just 0.02 of a point to finish unofficially at 1,341.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC shed 14.35 points, or 0.49 percent, to close unofficially at 2,887.98.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is open to buying more bonds to stimulate the economy but the recovery might need to weaken for a consensus to build, minutes from the central bank's June meeting released on Wednesday showed.
The Fed last month expanded its latest effort to keep long-term interest rates low, announcing it would buy an additional $267 billion in long-term bonds with proceeds from short-term notes in a measure known as Operation Twist.
Even given that modest step, many economists expect the U.S. central bank to ease monetary policy further by eventually launching a third round of outright bond purchases that would increase the size of its $2.9 trillion balance sheet.
The minutes of the June 19-20 meeting showed a few officials on the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee thought recent softness in the economy was sufficient to justify bolder action. But the report suggested a majority was not yet on board - at least not before last week's employment report, which showed a paltry 80,000 jobs were created in June.
The Sime Darby Property Lifestyle Collection has recorded a total gross sales value of close to RM800 million since the campaign was launched in early April.
The achievement came on the back of a strong take-up of the wide-ranging residential and commercial properties located in Sime Darby Property's 10 known townships in the Klang Valley and Nilai, Negeri Sembilan.
As the campaign drew to a close on June 17, about 700 units of properties were sold.
"The results of the Sime Darby Property Lifestyle Collection clearly show that our offerings have hit the right chord among homebuyers and investors.
"We offer them quality and innovative properties at a price that gives them investment opportunities and value creation," Datuk Abd Wahab MASkan, Managing Director of Sime Darby Property Bhd and Sime Darby Group's Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement Wednesday.
A new development in Nathan Tinkler's bid for Whitehaven Coal Ltd has seen Hong Kong-based commodities trader Noble Group join the billionaire's $4 billion-plus tilt at the company, according to the Australian Financial Review.
Noble provided $58.8 million in the float for Mr Tinkler's Aston Resources, which recently merged with Whitehaven. Noble, as part of the deal, signed a long-term offtake agreement with the Maules Creek project.
Noble will gain cash later this month by selling its majority-owned stake in Gloucester Coal to Yancoal.
Mr Tinkler yesterday, with financial backing from Farallon Capital Partners and Kuok Group, made an offer for Whitehaven which the company described as "highly conditional and incomplete".
UBS, Barclays Capital and JP Morgan have reportedly signed on to provide a $1 billion-plus bridging debt facility for the deal, the AFR reported.
The involved parties reportedly support the idea of keeping Whitehaven private for at least a year and building it into a larger coal producer before a potential sale to a trade buyer or a float, the AFR added.
In an effort to ensure a formal offer for Whitehaven Coal would be viewed as a friendly offer, Mr Tinkler has held talks with the coal miner's major shareholders, according to The Australian.
Mr Tinkler is likely to need the support of First Reserve, AMCI and senior management to complete any deal, the newspaper added.
Thailand's largest petrochemical maker, PTT Global Chemical Pcl, plans to invest US$11bil by 2020 to expand capacity and focus on high-margin specialties and green products.
That budget included a plan to invest US$3bil to build a new olefins cracker with estimated annual capacity of 1 million tonnes, chief executive officer Anon Sirisaeng-taksin said.
Concern about the impact of Europe's debt crisis has led PTT Global, one of the world's top 10 ethylene makers, to review its investment plans, and this year the firm would focus on maximising benefits from a recent merger and “debottleneck” existing facilities to produce more, he said.
The latter should help boost output of plastic pellets by 70,000-80,000 tonnes a year and was expected to be completed by 2014.
“For projects that yield high returns and do not need a lot of investment, we will go ahead. But for new projects that we haven't committed to, we still have time to consider,” Anon said.
The company was looking for a location to build the new cracker to serve growing demand in Asia, especially in China, Indonesia and Vietnam, and it was also looking at building a new bio plastic plant in the next five years, he said.
Yesterday in Asia
Tokyo closed flat, edging down 0.08 percent, or 6.73 points, to end at 8,851.00, while Sydney lost 0.04 percent, or 1.52 points, to finish at 4,096.50 points.
Hong Kong put on 0.12 percent, or 23.51 points, to finish at 19,419.87, while Shanghai ended up 0.51 percent, or 10.94 points, at 2,175.38.
Seoul lost 0.17 percent, or 3.06 points, to close at 1,826.39.
– Taipei rose 0.09 percent, or 6.56 points, to 7,257.91.
Smartphone maker HTC gained 2.62 percent to Tw$313.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed 1.26 percent lower at Tw$78.1.
– Wellington rose 0.41 percent, or 14.12 points, to 3,478.84.
Telecom Corp. was up 1 percent at NZ$2.525, Chorus rose 0.2 percent to NZ$3.27 and Fletcher Building was down 0.60 percent at NZ$6.09.
– Manila closed 0.09 percent, or 4.84 points, lower at 5,235.44.
Ayala Land Inc. dropped 1.9 percent to 20.65 pesos while Philippine Long Distance Telephone fell 1.46 percent to 2,706 pesos.
– Singapore closed up 0.83 percent, or 24.69 points, at 2,989.31.
City Developments added 1.34 percent to Sg$11.38 and United Overseas Bank gained 1.19 percent to Sg$19.49.
– Kuala Lumpur ended 0.32 percent, or 5.16 points, higher at 1,629.45.
Sime Darby rose 0.1 percent to 9.95 ringgit and Kuala Lumpur Kepong was up 0.8 percent to 24.30.
– Bangkok rose 0.35 percent, or 4.25 points, to 1,208.67.
Banpu was unchanged at 460 baht, while PTT added 0.30 percent to 333 baht.
– Jakarta closed 0.23 percent, or 9.45 points, higher at 4,019.13.
Telkom rose 2.4 percent to 8,450 rupiah, Bank Mandiri jumped 1.4 percent to 7,050 rupiah while Bumi Resources fell 1.8 percent to 1,120 rupiah.
– India’s Sensex index slid 0.73 percent or 129.21 points to 17,489.14, as investors took profit after share prices touched four-month-highs this week. India’s largest private aluminium producer Hindalco slid 2.74 percent to 124.1 rupees while the country’s third-largest software exporter Wipro fell 2.68 percent to 374.2.
Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.
Linda Johnson, Business Development Director - Private Client Group, Heffernan Capital Management
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Bharat Building Singapore 048617
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