Friday, 9 March 2012

Stocks to watch: Pantech, MISC, EngTek, Johore Tin, MAHB

KUALA LUMPUR (March 9): Malaysian stocks could take the cue from positive sentiment across global markets on Friday as investors pinned their hopes that Greece’s sovereign debt woes will be contained. Markets could also find support from the anticipation of better employment numbers in the US.

Private holders of Greek government bonds have until Thursday night (March 8) to voluntarily swap their bonds for new ones. The swap is vital to help Greece to obtain bailout funds, without which the country may default on its debt obligations this month.

Reuters reported that as of Wednesday, major banks and pension funds, accounting some 40% of Greece's outstanding bonds, has participated the in the swap, raising hopes that the country could avert a default. US policymakers are expected to announce on Friday, a rise of 210,000 jobs in the country’s non-farm payrolls. This could boost sentiment among Asian exporting nations.

Japan stole the limelight on Thursday when it announced that its gross domestic product contracted by an annualized 0.4%, less than the 2.3% contraction estimated earlier.

Key regional markets racked up gains of up to more than 2% on Thursday, as investors’ sentiment was boosted by hopes that Greece could avert a default and positive news on the US economy.

However, the FBM KLCI lagged the regional markets and managed to close up only 3.53 points or 0.22% to 1,578.36, after falling 15.08 points – the worst loss for this year – on Wednesday

Stocks to watch on Friday include PANTECH GROUP HOLDINGS BHD [], MISC BHD [], ENG TEKNOLOGI HOLDINGS BHD [], JOHORE TIN BHD [], and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB)

Pantech, a pipes, fittings and flow controls solutions provider, has acquired the entire stake in UK-based Nautic Steels (Holdings) Ltd for GBP9.5 million or RM45.46 million. Pantech said on Thursday the acquisition will help the company expand its geographical presence and product range. Pantech shares rose 1.5 sen to close at 54 sen.

Moody's Investors Service had on Thursday downgraded credit ratings of MISC Bhd to Baa2 from Baa1. The outlook on the ratings remains negative. According to Moody’s, the downgrade reflects MISC’s weaker earnings amid excess capacity which could stifle the shipping firm’s profitability.

Moody’s is also mindful of MISC’s substantial capital needs requiring additional debt funding, which will lead to higher debt leverage and negative cash flow in the short to medium term. MISC shares closed five sen down to RM5.32

Meanwhile, founders and major shareholders of Eng Teknologi Holdings Bhd who are in the midst of privatising the hard disk drive component maker, say they are still in talks with financiers on the funding dynamics for the acquisition, and that the outcome could result in a lower offer price for the proposed takeover. Eng Teknologi finished at RM1.78, down one sen.

Meanwhile, OSK Research said Johore Tin shares are trading at attractive valuations with a low market capitalisation of RM75.6 million, hence, the possibility of the company being an acquisition target. OSK maintained its buy call for Johore Tin with a fair value of RM1.51. Johore Tin added six sen to RM1.14.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has fixed the price of its recently announced private placement of up to110 million new shares at RM5.60. This translates into gross proceeds of RM616 million, MAHB said MAHB shares declined three sen to RM5.62.

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