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ASEAN STOCK WATCH 1  September  2010

ASEAN may Lead World Markets Higher

Shayne Heffernan

USA markets ended a bad month last night. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 4.99 points, or 0.05 per cent, to end unofficially at 10,014.72. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up just 0.41 of a point, or 0.04 per cent, to finish unofficially at 1049.33. But the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.94 points, or 0.28 per cent, to close unofficially at 2114.03.

For the month, the Dow fell 4.31 per cent, while the S&P 500 lost 4.75 per cent and the Nasdaq slid 6.24 per cent.

There will be added pressure on regional markets today but we still may see gains as local ASEAN data remains strong and AFTA delivers good prospects for new markets.

The Straits Times Index fell 6.73 points to close at 2,950.33.

Volume was 1.67 billion shares.

Losers led gainers 329 to 149.

City Developments declined 4.5 per cent to S$10.94, CapitaLand was down 1.8 per cent at S$3.91, CapitaMall Trust gained 1.6 per cent to S$1.94 while CapitaMalls Asia was up 1.0 per cent at S$2.10.

Olam International fell 1.84 per cent to S$2.67, Wilmar International was flat at S$6.26, while Golden Agri-Resources rose 0.9 per cent to S$0.56.

Singapore banks are the top three safest banks in Asia, according to the Global Finance magazine in its October 2010 issue.

DBS Bank clinched the top spot for the second year. OCBC took the second while UOB ranked third.

Globally, DBS Bank was ranked the 23rd safest bank, up one notch from 24th place last year.

OCBC was 31st while UOB was 32nd.

Global Finance said the banks were selected through a comparison of their long-term credit ratings and total assets of the 500 largest banks around the world.

It used ratings from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.

Global Finance publisher Joseph D Giarraputo said banks that have strengthened their liquidity positions and the quality and quantity of their capital are recognised in these rankings.

He added that more than ever, customers around the world are viewing long-term creditworthiness as the key feature of the banks with which they do business.

This is on the back of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and renewed concerns about the global economic outlook, which once again put the spotlight on bank safety.

United Overseas Bank shed 0.85 per cent to S$18.72.

In the Philippines the local Stock Exchange index gained 7.47 points or 0.21 percent to close at 3,566.23.

The mining/oil counter was the day’s most active, rising 2 percent on the back of gains by Philex Mining Corp. on expectations that the company might gain a foothold in the $5.2-billion gold and copper mine in South Cotabato.

The financial, industrial and holding firm counters were mildly up, taking up the slack in the property and services counters.

There were 70 advancers and 60 decliners while 33 stocks were unchanged. Value turnover was extraordinarily high at P14.6 billion due to two large block sales of Petron Corp.

Aside from Philex, among the day’s gainers were banking giant Metrobank, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Universal Robina, JG Summit, Ayala Corp., Lopez Holdings, First Philippine Holdings Corp., Energy Development Corp., Semirara Mining Corp., SM Investments and Globe Telecom.

The local stock market managed to post slim gains despite the bloodbath in Wall Street on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 140.92 points or 1.39 percent to 10,009.73.

In the next few sessions, however, dealers expected the market to enter a consolidation phase.

Shayne Heffernan looks at the days trading in Jakarta: The Jakarta Composite Index lost 17.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 3,081.88. Some 4.2 billion shares worth Rp 3.7 trillion ($391 million) changed hands. Decliners outnumbered gainers 132 to 58.

Overall confidence in Indonesia led to a burst of late bargain buying limited the losses, after the JCI was down 35 points in the late afternoon.

Among decliners were energy companies such as Adaro Energy, Indonesia’s biggest listed coal producer by market value, which tumbled 4 percent after reporting on Monday that first-half net income fell 49 percent to Rp 1.2 trillion as coal prices fell and the rupiah strengthened.

Medco Energi Internasional, the country’s biggest listed oil company, slid 0.8 percent.

Bakrie Group coal miner Bumi Resources fell 2.9 percent after it reported first-half net income declined 30 percent to $134.6 million as interest costs increased and it paid higher taxes.

Financial stocks outperformed. Bank Mandiri rose 1.5 percent, while Bank Negara Indonesia advanced 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the rupiah fell 0.4 percent to post a decline for the month of August, halting a two-month winning streak as signs the global economic recovery is faltering damped demand for emerging-market assets.

The currency slumped for only its second month in a year, dropping 1.1 percent.

The rupiah was at 9,048 to the dollar as of the stock market’s close. It was the third-worst performer in August among Asia’s 10 most-traded currencies, after India’s rupee and South Korea’s won.

“There was modest weakness across some Asian currencies in August due to global growth concerns, especially as the US data is getting weaker,” said Thomas Harr, Singapore-based Asia foreign-exchange strategy head at Standard Chartered. “There’s nothing really Indonesia-specific that is driving the rupiah lower.”

Losses in the currency were limited as funds based abroad plowed money into Indonesian securities in August. Overseas investors bought $246 million more local shares than they sold, boosting net purchases for the year to $1.6 billion.

Analysts expect the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged at a meeting this week to support growth, even as a government report today may show inflation has accelerated to the fastest pace since April 2009.

According to economists’ estimates, annual inflation rose to 6.7 percent in August from a year earlier, after climbing to 6.22 percent the previous month. The government inflation report is due today. Bank Indonesia will keep its policy rate at 6.5 percent when it meets on Friday, according to a separate survey.

Harr said the higher inflation data should have a limited impact on the rupiah as the central bank was expected to raise its policy rate in the fourth quarter. Standard Chartered was sticking with a forecast that the currency would rise to 8,800 by the end of the fourth quarter, he said.

The currency will gain to 8,900 by year-end, according to the median estimate of economists.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) composite index closed down 1.61 points to close at 908.04 points at the end of trading session on Tuesday morning. The trade value was 23.56 billion baht.

Siam Cement Group (SCG), Thailand’s top industrial conglomerate, wants to establish a global presence for its SCG and COTTO brands of building materials starting in Asean.

Currently, Vietnam is considered the first strategic country for the move to establish the international recognition of its SCG brand for construction products and COTTO brand for sanitary ware including tiles and faucets.

Other countries in Indochina, including Burma and Cambodia, as well as the Philippines, are the next targets of Siam Cement’s Brand Management Office, which is tasked with increasing the awareness of the brands in the domestic and overseas markets.

“The move is expected to further strengthen our leadership in both the construction and sanitary ware markets,” said brand director Anuvat Chalermchai.

Operating under SCG Building Materials Co, the Brand Management Office has been allocated a budget of 200 million baht this year for strategic planning and brand management mostly for the Thai markets. Unlike overseas markets, construction products are grouped under the “Chang” brand for domestic sales.

The budget will be increased next year for greater coverage in Asean.

“SCG has campaigned through corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in Vietnam over the past few years and they know SCG as a corporation. Now it is time to make the Vietnamese consumers aware that we have products available for them to buy,” Mr Anuvat said.

“At present, the brand awareness of SCG and COTTO is minimal abroad even though a significant portion of our cement and up to 40% of our sanitary ware are exported. This is partly due to strong competition from major local players in each Asean market and the existence of international operators such as France’s Saint Gobain and Switzerland-based Holcim,” he added.

“We want significant brand awareness in Asean by 2015, when SCG aims to become a major regional business leader,” said Mr Anuvat.

“Our prime targets include Indochina and other markets in Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Indonesia,” he added.

Besides, the Brand Management Office also looks beyond the Asean markets.

“We believe the SCG and COTTO brands have the potential in the global market. That’s why the office was established and we will put our efforts to achieving this target,” he added.

Shares of SCG (SCC) closed on the SET at 272 baht, up four baht, in trade worth 1.47 million baht.

For 2011, Robinson is planning to open three new branches in Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok and on Rama IX road in Bangkok with a full-year investment budget of 1.2 billion baht, including 200 million to renovate existing stores.

Capital investment is expected to rise to 1.4 to 1.5 billion baht per year over the next three years, with the company investing from 300 to 600 million baht per new branch.

“By 2012, we expect to have 29 stores in operation. We will use existing cash flow for financing new investment. We have EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of around 2 billion baht [per year],” Mr Preecha said.

The company will focus its expansion upcountry to reduce its risk to political unrest in the capital and target growing household income in the provinces.

Robinson reported first-half total revenue of 7.96 billion baht, a 21.2% increase from the same period last year. Net profit rose 109% year-on-year to 1.07 billion baht for the first six months of the year. First-half sales revenue rose 16.3% year-on-year to 6.9 billion baht.

Second-quarter sales revenue rose 15.2% year-on-year to 3.38 billion baht, with net profit up 30.5% to 304 million.

Top five most active values were as follows;

KTB closed at 13.80 baht, up 0.60 baht (4.55%)

TMB closed at 2.68 baht, up 0.06 baht (2.29%)

SCC closed at 287.00 baht, up 9.00 baht (3.24%)

BLAND closed at 1.02 baht, down 0.02 baht (1.92%)

BAY closed at 21.30 baht, up 0.20 baht (0.95%)


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