TODAY

Good Morning, Folks! Before you buy that nice outfit online, ask yourself: “Am I willing to delete one extra email every day for the rest of my life?” 😛 LOL

Fitch revises Malaysia’s fiscal deficit forecast on increased govt spending to fund stimulus

SUNBIZ (March 31) PETALING JAYA: Fitch Solutions has revised its 2020 fiscal deficit forecast for Malaysia to 5.7% of gross domestic product (GDP), from 3.9% previously, to reflect the increased expenditure required to fund the combined RM250 billion stimulus package.

It also projects 2020 real GDP growth at 1.2%, revised downwards from 3.7% previously, reflecting its expectation for further stimulus from the government.

Although the RM250 billion package amounts to 17% of GDP, the research arm of Fitch Ratings remains cautious on its effectiveness at stabilising employment and keeping businesses open amid crushing economic headwinds.

“We do not expect this package to significantly improve the economic outlook, even though the large increase in handouts for households will likely help to keep private consumption growth afloat,” it said

As such, Fitch Solutions said it is maintaining its private consumption growth forecast at 1%.

On the negative side, it said most of the help for businesses has come in the form of loans and loan guarantees, rather than cost reduction measures, such as those adopted in China and Singapore.

“We continue to stress the risks to long-term growth and social security from financing stimulus by drawing on pension funds and relying on the private banking sector to absorb the economic shock, especially since any further stimulus is likely to rely on the same funding strategy, given tight fiscal constraints.

“While concessionary loans and loan guarantees for businesses are a positive step, we are of the view that they are only part of the solution. Cost reduction measures are important in helping businesses remain viable, or decide that the current downturn will not exact losses that will be too costly to weather,” it said.

It went on to elaborate that if businesses decide that it is futile to carry on, they will likely not take up the loans that the government is offering or guaranteeing. Furthermore, businesses have to prove that their revenues have contracted by at least 50% in the year-to-date of the application.

“Given that Malaysia was operating normally until March 18 when the movement control order began, most businesses will likely find it hard to qualify until later in the year,” it said.

I think something’s missing in my life… Like… 2-3 million ringgits. 😦

This Feeling – The Chainsmokers ft. Kelsea Ballerini

What’s Up Buddy?

Kenanga Today

Yesterday, Asian stocks ended higher as China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Mangers’ Index for March came in better than market expected. Back home, the FBMKLCI gained 22.01 points (+1.66%) to finish at 1,350.89. Chart-wise, the index remains below all the key SMAs. Coupled with the bearish MACD signal, we expect the index to remain under pressure ahead. Nonetheless, we may see a continuation of yesterday’s intermittent technical rebound from an oversold position.On the chart, we have upped our support levels to 1,310 (S1) and 1,240 (S2). Conversely, the resistance levels are now set at 1,360 (R1) and 1,400 (R2). Today’s technical highlights are DUFU and YINSON (both are not rated).

Banking (Overweight). Looking ahead to the impending downturn ahead, we have slashed earnings estimates of our banking stocks universe by 11% as we revised our loans, and NIM compression downwards with uptick in credit charge. However, looking at their CET1s, we find the stocks well capitalised with the most adverse erosion likely to be buffered by their CET1 ratios that is well above the required regulatory level. Our Top Picks are MAYBANK (OP, TP: RM8.50) and PBBANK (OP, TP: RM18.55) which we believe are prime beneficiaries from a resilient CET1.

TELCO (Overweight). We upgrade our call on the telecommunications sector to OVERWEIGHT from NEUTRAL. Amidst the ongoing slump in the market, we see this as an opportunity to accumulate stocks in a resilient industry. Despite still seeing some declines, telco stocks have mostly fared better than the FBMKLCI. Listed players are facing intensifying competition to cater the growing demand needs of consumers, with unlimited data plans slowly becoming a staple offering between cellcos. We anticipate the rollout of 5G to see some hiccups arising from a new government and to some extent, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Still, we do not anticipate significant swings to our estimated corporate earnings during the year, regardless of it meeting the earlier intended 3QFY20 commercialisation timeline. We present TM (OP; TP: RM4.30) as our Top Pick for the sector, reinforcing our dual strategic view of either (1) it continues to play a significant role in the deployment of 5G infrastructure with its extensive fibre network, or (2) it focuses on its core fixed line and fibre business while riding on its leaner cost structure, with both scenarios resulting in positive outcomes. We also like DIGI (OP; TP: RM4.65) for its consistently high ROE (+200%) and highest dividend yield in the sector (c.4.4%), which could cushion investors in this volatile market environment.

Gaming (Overweight). We upgrade the Gaming Sector to OVERWEIGHT from NEUTRAL as values are emerging as the intense market sell-down has pushed shares to deeply oversold positions and beyond fundamentals as well. Gaming sector is one of the biggest casualties of the COVID-19-driven market meltdown. Players’ share prices were thumped down by between 17%-41% YTD, hitting 52-week low and edged closer to -2SD PBV 5-year mean for NFOs and -3SD PBV 5-year mean for casino operators. As the hit on earnings is expected to be severe especially for casino with a worldwide quarantine restricting travel, attempting earnings estimates at this point are both challenging and dicey. Hence, we switch our valuation method to PBV from the earnings-based SoP and DCF methodologies. We placed a fair value for NFO players at -1SD PBV 5-year mean and ideal entry price set at -2SD while a notch lower for casino players given higher earnings risk. Nonetheless, GENTING is our preferred pick for its deep valuation while for dividend yield seekers, NFOs offer average yield of >6%.

Rubber Gloves (Overweight). Rubber glove stocks under our coverage have performed well following our upgrade eight months ago. Despite easing off from recent peaks, they remain strong outperformers YTD, led by TOPGLOV (+36%), HARTA (+26%), KOSSAN (+23%) and SUCB (+22%). The stage is now set for a solid FY20 following three quarters of anemic quarterly earnings growth. Coming off this low base due to the lackluster demand of the past 12 months, forward earnings growth will be amplified on re-stocking activities ramp-up and to be boosted by better margins from higher ASP and favourable USDMYR due to the current COVID-19 pandemic which enforces higher hygiene standards. Our target prices for glove stocks are based on +1.5SD to +2.0SD which is to better reflect rubber gloves players’ prospects in anticipation of restocking activities, resilient earnings and their constant evolution and progress to increase earnings. We have OUTPERFORM calls on HARTA (OP; TP: RM8.00); KOSSAN (OP; TP: RM5.90) SUPERMX (OP; TP: RM2.00) and TOPGLOV (MP; TP: RM6.50). Our Top Pick for the sector is HARTA (OP; TP: RM8.00).

Technology (Overweight). Moving into 2QCY20, pockets of opportunity have emerged after stocks took a beating in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. While there is valid concern for disruption in both chip production and demand in China and neighbouring countries, we believe that the general trend for the technology sector is still pointing towards positive growth, albeit temporarily disrupted. We choose to take a positive view as valuations are trading at a steep discount from the peak while fundamentals remain intact. From the recent analyst briefings with tech companies, we are getting a general sense that orders are not being cancelled but back-loaded. This could translate into a late recovery in 2020, as seen in 2019. Hence, we believe that 1QCY20 earnings performance which is likely to be soft could provide the opportunity to re-position for a recovery in 2HCY20. We like automotive-centric players as they offer more room for growth compared with smartphones. Our top picks are MPI (OP; RM13.30), KESM (OP; RM10.20) and D&O (OP; RM0.91).

Construction (Overweight). A cloud of uncertainties emanating from a gloomy economic backdrop has blurred the construction sector outlook. In essence, sentiment on construction stocks will remain under siege from the Covid-19 spill-over effects and possible delays in the revival of mega infrastructure projects. The KLCON Index reacted by falling 37.2% YTD (until 20 March 2020), thus reversing last year’s gain of 34.2%. With investor confidence battered badly and given poor earnings visibility, we have switched our valuation methodology to PBV. During the 2008/2009 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the construction sector was then trading between –2SD and –1SD below the historical PBV mean for approximately three months. In comparison, the KLCON Index is currently trading at -2SD below its mean, suggesting limited downside risks.After attaching basement PBV multiples at -2.5SD and -1.0SD below their mean levels, our revised target prices indicate positive returns to be made by investors in the medium term as valuations are expected to revert to normalcy post-crisis. From a fundamental perspective, our top stock picks are GAMUDA (OP; TP: RM3.18), SUNCON (OP; TP: RM1.80) and HSL (OP; TP: RM1.37). In addition, trading-oriented investors can consider WCT (OP; TP: RM0.47) and KIMLUN (OP; TP: RM1.25) as potential rebound plays from oversold territories. Upgrade sector call to tactical OVERWEIGHT on valuation grounds.

Property (Overweight). Already grappling with an oversupply imbalance, the property sector is expected to be hit harder now by the deteriorating economic conditions and evaporating consumer confidence. In the midst of the perfect storm, property developers will find it challenging to clear their inventory of completed stocks and achieve forward sales targets. Reflecting the bearish sentiment, the KLPRP Index extended its losses this year, down 37.7% YTD (as of 20 Mar 2020) compared with the benchmark index’s decline of 18.0%. To get a sense on valuation levels during a market meltdown, we looked back to 2008/2009 when global equities crashed in the wake of the global financial crisis. Back then, the property sector hovered between –1.5SD and –1SD below its historical PBV mean for approximately 11 months. After the recent intense sell-off, the KLPRP Index has overshot to trade at the distressed level of -2.5SD below its mean currently, suggesting a relief rebound is probable. Even after applying basement PBV multiples at –2.5SD to –1SD below their mean levels to factor in the challenging outlook, our revised target prices suggest there are potential upsides while valuations are poised to revert to normalcy post crisis, as was the case in the past. From a valuation perspective, we are retaining our tactical OVERWEIGHT sector call with our top picks being SIMEPROP (OP; TP: RM0.88) and IOIPG (OP; TP: RM1.21). For trading-oriented investors, we recommend UEMS (OP; TP: RM0.58) and SPSETIA (OP; TP: RM0.86) as potential rebound plays from oversold positions.

Media (Overweight). We maintain our recently upgraded OVERWEIGHT call (from NEUTRAL) on the media sector. For the past few quarters, the sector was bogged down by declining revenue prospects amidst the ongoing digitalisation of advertising medias dampening the demand for traditional media channels (i.e. television, physical print publications). We do not discount that the Covid-19 pandemic and slowing global economic activity could dampen sentiment further. Concurrently, overhead costs could surpass dwindling top-lines for most players. That being said, we believe that media players have finally found the sweet spot in managing operating expenses through painful restructuring exercises (i.e. manpower rationalisation) while growing their presence in digital spaces and expanding on their integrated marketing solution offerings. We have mostly trimmed our earnings assumptions and valuations with this piece and are still convinced of the value to be had within this industry. MEDIAC (OP; TP: RM0.245) is our preferred pick for the sector, having its near-term earnings guarded by recent tax incentives while paying handsome dividend yields of c.9%.

Math: the only place where you have to figure out the ratio of yellow candy to blue candy when all you’re thinking about is eating them. 😀

TODAY

Good morning, Folks. If you haven’t done much giving in your life, try it and see how you feel afterwards.

Grab Malaysia lists three measures to support local businesses

BERNAMA via FocusM (March 31) GRAB Malaysia has listed three measures to support local businesses especially small independent establishments and hawkers beset by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To this end, the multinational ride-hailing company will embark on a Grab Small-Biz Relief (GSR) programme, which aims to provide financial relief of up to RM3,000 to each GrabFood small-biz enterprise and zero commissions on all digital payments via WhatsApp, Facebook or phone orders and voluntary self-pickups.

“We will also launch a ‘Local Heroes’ campaign to boost visibility and awareness for these restaurants across various digital channels. The campaign will begin on April 1 to hopefully generate more awareness for our small, independent restaurants,” Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh said in a statement.

With the extension of the movement control order, he said the company is offering two new alternative channels to help its merchants serve the demand at zero per cent commission.

“Firstly, we will send a customised GrabPay link to each eligible merchant, so that they can receive direct payments via chat, free of charge, and for orders made via Whatsapp, Facebook or phone. Customers, in turn, will be able to earn GrabRewards points as well.

“Secondly, for GrabFood orders, we will waive all commissions if customers choose to pick up the food themselves. With this, we hope to be able to lend some support to our local businesses,” he said.

I’m pretty sure that eating chocolate keeps wrinkles away because I have never seen a 10 year old with a Hershey bar and crows feet. LOL. Peggy Lee – Black Coffee

What’s Up Buddy?

AMBANK: STOCK FOCUS OF THE DAY
RHB Bank: No significant rise in provisions in near term BUY

We maintain our BUY call on RHB Bank with an unchanged fair value of RM5.80/share, pegging the stock to an FY20 P/BV of 0.9x. No changes to our estimates for now. The group hosted a conference call yesterday to provide updates on the measures announced by Bank Negara to assist borrowers impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Retail, SME and corporate loans comprised 55%, 16% and 29% respectively of the group’s total domestic loans of RM156.9bil as at end Dec 2019. The group is assuming all domestic retail and SME borrowers will opt for the automatic moratorium to defer their repayments, principal and interest on loans for a period of 6 months from 1 April 2020. Meanwhile, corporate borrowers will need to apply to the bank for the moratorium. 30% of the total domestic corporate loans have been projected to be requiring the moratorium. This will lead to circa 80–81% of the group’s total domestic loans to be granted moratorium.

No negative impact to capital ratios seen from implementing the relief measures. Regulatory reserves at the group and bank entity levels stand at RM839mil and RM353mil respectively. Should the group release its regulatory reserves held against expected losses to 0% temporarily as permitted by BNM, we estimate a slight lift in the group’s and bank entity CET1 ratios by 0.7% and 0.4% respectively to 17.6% and 15.5% respectively (Dec 19: 16.9% and 15.1%). Management hinted that the group’s NII will be impacted by the 2 (two) OPR cuts this year with another OPR cut likely to occur in the near term.

If we’re not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food. Susan Boyle – Lilac Wine

Urusharta Jamaah selling shares in weak market

IN the second week of March, Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJSB) — the wholly-owned unit of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) that took over Lembaga Tabung Haji’s (TH) non-performing assets in late 2018 — started selling some of the shares it had taken over.

The sale of these shares in 13 companies is likely to be at a loss, owing to weak market conditions. It also raises the question as to the timing of the sale and why it is being done now.

“At least there should be some explanation … Why sell now when the market is at its weakest and there are no buyers?” asks a seasoned remisier.

With the Covid-19 shutdown, UJSB could not be contacted for comment.

To recap, UJSB came to have stakes in 106 listed companies, one unlisted plantation counter and 29 properties, including four hotels and a plot of land at Tun Razak Exchange, at end-2018. TH no longer has stakes in these 106 counters.

UJSB forked out a steep RM19.9 billion to TH for the assets, as their book value was only about RM10 billion. Nevertheless, the whole exercise was aimed at restoring TH.

To put things in perspective, the benchmark FBM KLCI averaged 1,631.12 points in 2019. From early March up to March 19, the FBM KLCI averaged 1,390 points, which means UJSB is piling on the losses.

What UJSB has started selling

During the period from March 2 to 19, when UJSB commenced selling, the FBM KLCI fell 271.31 points, or 18.2%, to 1,219.72 points.

UJSB took over 43.5 million shares, or 9.35% equity interest, in the civil engineering and building contractor WZ Satu Bhd at end-December 2018 and, on March 6, 9 and 12 this year, it sold 2.58 million shares, leaving it with 40.92 million shares, or just under 8% equity interest.

From March 6 to 12, WZ Satu’s stock traded at 12.5 to 16.5 sen. In 2019, WZ Satu’s share price averaged 25.1 sen, which means it has shed more than a third of its value.

TH surfaced as a substantial shareholder in WZ Satu with 19 million shares, or an 8.33% stake, after a private placement in late October 2014, at RM1.60 per share, which would indicate that the pilgrim fund forked out RM30.4 million for the shares.

There were two bonus issues, one for every five shares held in March 2017 and another one-for-three in May 2018, which explains the increase in the number of WZ Satu shares held by TH when it was transferred to UJSB.

It is also worth noting that WZ Satu paid out dividends of two sen per share in February 2016, three sen (two sen final dividend and one sen special dividend) in March 2017, and two sen in March 2018. However there has been no payout or corporate exercise since UJSB took over the shares.

UJSB held 121.3 million shares, or 8.62% equity interest, in construction outfit WCT Holdings Bhd prior to a sale of 12.79 million shares on March 5, 10, 11, 12 and 16. UJSB now has 108.51 million shares, or a 7.74% stake, in the company.

Last year, WCT’s stock averaged 92.4 sen apiece, in contrast with March 16, when it closed at 38.5 sen, meaning WCT had shed close to 60% of its value. WCT’s stock dipped below 25 sen last Thursday.

TH has been a substantial shareholder in WCT from as far back as June 2013, when it surfaced with 56.31 million shares, or 5.15% equity interest. In a nutshell, its shareholding fluctuated until it gave it up in December 2018.

Back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that WCT has paid out about 18.3 sen in dividends from the time the pilgrim fund became a substantial shareholder, which benefited TH. There have also been share dividends, rights issues and a one-for-five bonus issue of shares since June 2013.

At Lion Industries Corp Bhd (LICB), UJSB sold 5.83 million shares on March 6, 9, 10, 11 and 12, trimming its stake to 38.2 million shares, or 5.61%.

From March 6 to 12, LICB traded between 25.5 sen and 31 sen, while it averaged 48.3 sen in 2019. TH has been a substantial shareholder in LICB since August 2011, and has regularly traded its stock.

From the time the pilgrim fund has been a substantial shareholder in LICB, the company has paid out six sen in dividends, the last payout being in 2014.

In contrast to its average of 48.3 sen in 2019, LICB has shed more than a third of its value. It is worth noting that LICB closed at a multi-year low of 13 sen last Thursday.

From March 5 to 10, UJSB hived off 21.35 million shares in diversified MMC Corp Bhd, trimming its stake to 212.47 million shares, or 6.98% equity interest. During the four trading days, MMC’s stock averaged 80 sen. In contrast, last year, MMC’s average trading price was RM1.02.

MMC’s stock has shed more than 52% of its value from its average trading price last year to March 19, when it closed at 48 sen.

TH has been a substantial shareholder in MMC since December 2014, and received 15.3 sen in dividends. UJSB, meanwhile, received a four sen per share payout in 2019.

UJSB ceased to be a substantial shareholder in Star Media Group Bhd after it sold 2.89 million shares between March 5 and 12, trimming its stake in the media company to below 5%.

Between March 5 and 12, Star traded at 33 sen to 37.5 sen, an average of 35.4 sen. In contrast, the share price averaged 61.3 sen last year.

The sale by UJSB would mean that it will be missing out on Star’s dividend of two sen per share going ex on March 30, with payment slated for April 17.

TH surfaced as a substantial shareholder in Star in June 2014, and made close to RM1 per share in dividends before it gave up its shares in December 2018.

UJSB sold 6.07 million shares in property developer MCT Bhd from March 5 to 11, trimming its stake to 127.41 million shares, or 8.74% equity interest.

Last year, MCT’s average share price was 34.7 sen, compared with 18.7 sen from March 5 to 11 this year. MCT closed last Thursday at a multi-year low of eight sen.

It is also worth noting that MCT had received notice of an unconditional takeover offer at 88 sen per share from Ayala Land Inc in January 2018, after the Philippine-listed outfit raised its stake in MCT to 50.19% from 32.95%, but the pilgrim fund did not accept the offer.

The pilgrim fund has been a shareholder of MCT since mid-April 2015, and likely did not accept the 88 sen offer because its holding costs was probably high, as MCT traded above RM1.20 from January to April 2015. MCT also stopped paying dividends after a two sen payout in September 2015.

At another property company, Mah Sing Group Bhd, UJSB sold 8.31 million shares from March 6 to 16 this year, trimming its stake to 131.44 million shares, or 5.41%.

From March 6 to 16, Mah Sing’s shares traded at 42.5 sen to 63 sen, which translates into an average of 53.6 sen. Last year, Mah Sing’s stock averaged 83.5 sen.

TH has been a substantial shareholder in Mah Sing since Aug 30, 2015, back when the property developer’s stock was trading at more than RM1, and taken home more than 30 sen in dividends per share.

UJSB disposed of 20.27 million shares in oil and gas outfit Reach Energy Bhd on March 10 and 11, leaving it with 79.92 million shares, or a 7.29% stake. On both days, Reach traded unchanged at 6.5 sen, in contrast to its average trading price of 23.6 sen last year.

TH surfaced as a substantial shareholder in Reach Energy at end-March 2016, with 64.54 million shares, or 5.05% equity interest. At the time, Reach Energy was trading at 65.5 sen to 68.5 sen.

UJSB ceased to be a substantial shareholder in Icon Offshore Bhd on Jan 23, after the MoF entity sold 972,225 shares. On Jan 23, Icon’s shares were trading at 41.5 sen to 67 sen, following a huge spike.

However, UJSB surfaced again as a substantial shareholder in the offshore support vessel player on Feb 18, with 133.8 million shares.

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 23, 2020 – March 29, 2020.

TODAY

I don’t wear makeup for others the same way I don’t decorate my house for others. LOL Good morning, Folks!

Property developers in talks with Bank Negara Malaysia on plans to help market

SUNBIZ (March 30) PETALING JAYA: The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) is in talks with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to work out plans to help the property market at a time when the country is on the brink of technical recession.

“At this point in time, we’re gathering the impact from our members,” said Rehda vice president and Rehda Selangor chairman Zulkifly Garib.

Local banks are extending a helping hand to borrowers by not compounding the interest on loans during the six-month moratorium announced last week.

This comes after the central bank announced the automatic grace period, which allows borrowers deferring loan repayments from April to September, as part of its relief measures to alleviate the people’s financial burden.

BNM also announced that it is liberalising requirements on lending/finaning to the broad property sector. However, no further details were disclosed.

CGS-CIMB Research had expected the central bank to relax rules for the property sector, such as loosening the 20% lending limit on the industry; uplifting the loan-to-value ratio on the third property; extending the loan tenure beyond 35 years; and gross income to be used for loan approval calculations instead of net income.

The research house believes that any form of liberalisation of lending/financing guidelines to be positive for and beneficial to the property market.

However, CGS-CIMB Research noted that the positive impact could be offset by negativity from the extension of the MCO to April 14, which could result in weaker new property sales and lower progress billings.

Foreign selling slows to RM631.9m last week

SUNBIZ (March 30) PETALING JAYA: International investors sold RM631.9 million net of local equities last week, the first time in five weeks that international funds disposed of local equities below the RM1.0 billion mark.

“In comparison to its other six Asian peers that we monitor, Malaysia remains as the nation with the third least foreign net outflow on a year-to-date basis. The year-to-date foreign outflow from Malaysia came to RM7.63 billion,“ said MIDF Research in its fund flow report today.

It said last Monday recorded a foreign net outflow of RM244.2 million, dragging the local bourse 3.3% lower to 1,259.9 points. Sentiment was dampened as the discussions of a US stimulus package faced hurdles from the US Senate Democrats.

Foreign net selling activity was lower by half at RM116.5 million net on Tuesday. Risk appetite returned to Asia following the Federal Reserve’s plan to buy unlimited amounts of Treasury bonds to keep borrowing costs low.

The level of foreign net selling fell for the third consecutive day on Wednesday after off shore investors only sold RM81.6 million net. US President Donald Trump’s deal with the Senate Democrats and Republics on a historic rescue package outweighed the extension of the movement control order by the government of Malaysia.

The momentum of foreign net selling inched higher to RM91.3 million net on Thursday as Malaysian’s number of Covid-19 infections reached 2,031 cases.

Friday then saw a foreign net outflow of RM98.35 million as US unemployment surged to a record 3.3 million, amplifying economic concerns from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Nevertheless, the local bourse was up by 1.1% to close at a two-week high of 1,343.1 points, as investors digested the latest RM250 billion stimulus package announced by the government,” said MIDF.

In terms of participation, the average daily traded value of foreign investors dropped the most by 41.9% to RM1.20 billion, which is still at a healthy level.

I’m holding on to HIBISCUS, PELIKAN & THRIVEN now, and I’m not letting go.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps cover by Santana Ft Indie Arie & YOYO MA.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles. It was written by George Harrison.

The new ceiling price for face masks has been fixed at RM1.50 per piece effective April 1, the government announced today. – EDGE

TODAY

Good morning, Folks. Do yourself a favour and wear a protective face mask. N95 respirators and surgical masks (face masks) are examples of personal protective equipment that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.

Italy’s virus death toll surges past 10,000, lockdown extension likely

REUTERS via FocusM (March 29) THE death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy barrelled past 10,000 yesterday, a figure that made an extension of a national lockdown almost certain.

Officials said 889 more people died in the previous 24 hours, the second highest daily tally since the epidemic emerged on Feb 21, and that total fatalities reached 10,023.

Officials said the numbers would have been worse without a national lockdown.

“Wiithout these measures, we would be seeing far worse numbers and our health service would be in a far more dramatic state. We would have been in an unsustainable situation,” said Angelo Borelli, the Civil Protection head who reads out the numbers daily to the media and an anxious Italy.

Italy, the first Western country to introduce severe restrictions on movement after uncovering the outbreak five weeks ago, has since increasingly tightened them, and hopes that they would be eased from next Friday were fading fast.

“There are elements that make us believe that all of the April 3 expirations of provision will have to be postponed,” Industy Minister Stefano Patuanelli told Italian broadcaster Rai.

Conte has urged the European Union to launch a “recovery bond” to help fund the response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying failure to tackle the emergency would be a “tragic mistake” for the bloc.

In an interview with Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore yesterday, Conte said a common debt instrument was needed to spearhead a European recovery and reinvestment plan to support the economy of the whole area.

Education Minister Lucia Azzolina has already said the closure of schools and universities, which began on March 5, would have to be extendd past April 3.

Italy’s minister for southern regions expressed concerns potential social tensions and civil unrest in poorer areas if, as expected, the epidemic moves south.

“I am afraid that the worries that are affecting large sections of the population over health, income and the future, with the continuation eof the crisis, will turn into anger and hatred,” Minister Giuseppe Provenzano told La Repubblica newspaper yesterday.

Michele Emiliano, governor of the southern Puglia region, downplayed played fears of civil unrest in the south but said the lockdown may have to be extended until mid-May.

At home with the virus, Johnson writes to the nation

REUTERS via FocusM (March 29) BRITISH Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is self-isolating at 10 Downing Street after testing positive for coronavirus, will write to every UK household to urge people to stay at home.

Johnson, who has described his symptoms as mild, is leading the government’s response to the crisis, chairing meetings by video conference. The health minister, Matt Hancock, has also tested positive and is working from home.

“We know things will get worse before they get better,” Johnson will write in his letter, which will be sent to 30 million households across the United Kingdom starting from next week.

“But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal,” he will say, according to a statement from Downing Street.

Britain has reported 17,089 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,019 deaths. The peak of the epidemic in the country is expected to come in a few weeks.

After initially taking relatively modest steps compared with other European nations, Johnson ramped up his response to coronavirus in the past week, ordering pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops to close and making social distancing compulsory.

In his letter, he will thank all those working for the state-funded National Health Service (NHS), which provides free healthcare to everyone living in the United Kingdom and inspires huge respect across society.

“It has been truly inspirational to see our doctors, nurses and other carers rise magnificently to the needs of the hour,” Johnson will say.

“Thousands of retired doctors and nurses are returning to the NHS – and hundreds of thousands of citizens are volunteering to help the most vulnerable.

“That is why, at this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

The letter will come with a leaflet containing the government’s advice on hand washing, rules on leaving the house, guidance for those self-isolating with symptoms or shielding vulnerable people, and explanations of symptoms.

The letter and leaflet are part of the government’s public information campaign on coronavirus, and are expected to cost 5.8 million pounds (US$7 mil) to print and distribute.

I like to prowl ordinary places and taste the people – from a distance (YouTube). Billy Joel – Piano Man

It has been a few days since I left the house, other than to fetch flour and sugar and royal icing mix. The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

TODAY

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul. LOL Good morning, Folks. Happy Saturday!

CORPORATE NEWS

MLAB (0085) is going to provide its video-conferencing products to Ipharmacare Malaysia Sdn Bhd to complement the latter’s online pharmaceutical platform. In return, Ipharmacare will support Mlab’s efforts to promote these products, which will include but not limited to video conferencing systems, messaging systems and network solutions, to its platform users and/or independent pharmacies. – EDGE

TENAGA (5347) said it has set aside RM150 million following the Government’s stimulus announcement today that Malaysian households and businesses will get tiered rebates for six months on their electricity bills. According to TNB, under the tiered rebate system, three million domestic consumers (with monthly consumption of below 200kWh) will receive a 50% rebate, while 1.5 million consumers (with monthly consumption between 201kWh and 300kWh) will get a 25% rebate. Another 2.2 million consumers (with monthly consumption between 301kWh and 600kWh) will get a 15% rebate. – EDGE

MCO: 11 men, including nine foreigners, detained for jogging in Mont Kiara area

BERNAMA via EDGE KUALA LUMPUR (March 27): Eleven men were detained in the vicinity of Jalan Mont Kiara and Jalan Desa Kiara here for jogging and disobeying police instructions on the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said through police patrol and enforcement in the area, two Malaysians, four Japanese, two South Koreans, an Indian national, an American and a British national were arrested for violating the order.

“The detainees did not heed the warnings and advice given by the police and gave outrageous excuses to avoid arrest,” he said in a statement.

“Statements from those detained have been recorded under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code and they were released on police bail upon completion of the investigation,” he said.

Mazlan said the investigation papers would be referred to the Deputy Prosecutor’s Office for further action, while the cases are being investigated under Regulation 7 (1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) 2020 and Section 186 of the Penal Code.

​Exercising at home can just be as effective as working out in the gym. Jane Fonda is one of my favourite video instructions and she offers tons of videos and collections. The best part of all? You don’t even need to leave your home.

426 fraudulent face mask sale cases reported

BERNAMA via SUNBIZ (March 27) KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 426 fraud cases with regard to the sale of face masks have been reported nationwide during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period until yesterday, with losses amounting to RM3 million.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department deputy director Datuk Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said 30 individuals, including 10 local women, have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in selling fake face masks on social media.

He said all the cases were being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for fraud and police were now tracking the remaining members of the syndicate, adding that of the 30 arrested, 19 have been charged unti yesterday.

He said all the deals were made via WhatsApp and the syndicate would also provide tracking numbers to deceive the buyers, but once payment had been made the suspects would disappear and their social media access blocked.

Saiful Azly said police constantly reminded the public through various social media alerts like on WhatsApp, Facebook Cyber Crime Alert, ‘crawlers’ on major television channels and in cooperation with the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission to raise awareness about the sale of masks.

He also advised the public to refer to the ‘Semakmule’ portal and the online status of sellers via http://biztrust.ssm.com.my before purchasing to avoid being victims of fraud.

He also reminded the public not to allow anyone to access their personal banking facilities and not to be hasty in making purchases.

The public can contact the CCID Infoline at 013-2111222 for more information, he said.

Meanwhile, Saiful Azly said that so far police have not received any report with regard to the fraudulent sale of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and recycled masks a viralled on social media.

A friend of mine told a story about a date with a guy she was really excited about: He stood her up. He then called her, begging her forgiveness and giving some excuse. She told him to get lost, telling him that he only gets one shot with her, and he blew it. LOL

Ruelle – Secrets and Lies. Ruelle, is an American electropop singer-songwriter.

TODAY

It’s Friday! Good Morning, Folks!!

Bursa relaxes rules on margin financing to avert selling pressure

FocusM (March 27): BURSA Malaysia announced today (March 27) that it was relaxing its rules on margin financing to avoid sharp falls in the market due to forced selling.

A margin call occurs if an account falls below the maintenance margin amount. A margin call is a demand from the brokerage for the investor to add money to the account or close out positions to bring the account back to the required level. If the investor does not meet the margin call, the brokerage firm can close out any open positions in order to bring the account back up to the minimum value.

The brokerage firm can do this without the investor’s approval and can choose which position(s) to liquidate. If the investor cannot meet the margin call, the brokerage will force sell the investor’s shares.

The forced selling or “program selling” will have an adverse effect on the bourse as it will pull prices of stocks down.

Bursa Malaysia said in a statement that it will give more room and discretion to brokers by removing the requirement to automatically liquidate stocks if the equity in the client’s margin account falls below 130% of the outstanding balance.

“Brokers will also not be required to make additional margin calls or impose haircuts on any collateral and securities purchased and carried in margin accounts due to an unusually volatile market,” said Bursa Malaysia.

The stock exchange operator has also expanded the list of collaterals for purposes of margin financing. It will allow brokers to accept other collaterals, such as bonds, collective investment schemes, unit trusts, gold and immovable properties for purposes of maintaining their client’s margin account if such collaterals are valued as per the broker’s credit policy.

Bursa Malaysia has lost more than RM260 bil in share value since the outbreak of Covid-19 with many stocks trading at their all-time lows. Panic selling was one of the major causes of the sharp decline as investors sold on fears of the worsening spread of the virus.

Philip Mutual Bhd’s chief strategist Phua Lee Kerk told FocusM that the move by Bursa Malaysia was positive for the stock market.

“The recent selldown in the market was mainly caused by forced selling and this move by Bursa Malaysia to give brokers the choice to force sell shares will provide some respite to the market,” he said.

Meanwhile, senior analyst at MIDF Inran Yassin told FocusM that the move by Bursa Malaysia would provide some stability in the market.

“We believe that sharp falls in the market could be averted by this new policy by Bursa Malaysia,” he said.

KL shares surge ahead of 2nd stimulus package announcement

BERNAMA via FocusM (March 27) BURSA Malaysia’s main index, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI), and other indices surged ahead of today’s stimulus package announcement to address the Covid-19 health crisis.

At lunch break, the FBM KLCI was up 22.32 points to 1,350.41, slightly above its immediate resistance level.

On the overall market, winners outweighed losers 742 to 156, with 235 counters unchanged, 877 not traded and 31 others suspended.

Turnover amounted to 2.21 billion shares worth RM1.24 bil.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is scheduled to announce the stimulus package at 3pm today. The package is expected to address wider issues faced by businesses as well as individuals during these challenging times, brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Heavyweight finance counters continued to outshine the rest with Maybank climbing 10 sen to RM7.37, Public Bank adding 52 sen to RM16.06, CIMB Group up nine sen to RM3.59 while Hong Leong Financial upticked 66 sen to RM13.70.

On the index point, Financial Services rose 2.27% to 12,378.10.

As for top gainers, consumer products and services stocks continued to dominate the chart with Dutchlady rising RM2 to RM43 and Panasonic Manufacturing gaining RM1.50 to RM26.50. Sin counters Heineken and Carlsberg climbed 66 sen and 60 sen respectively to RM22.56 and RM25.80.

Overall index performance was positive, with the FBM Emas Index surging 197.14 points to 9,261.59 while the FBM 70 gained 366.21 points to 10,694.77 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index garnered 188.72 points to 10,093.09.

The FBMT 100 Index increased 187.29 points to 9,190.89 and the FBM Ace rose 141.24 points to 3,820.66.

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index added 3.09 points to 105.62, and the Plantation Index added 65.23 points to 6,121.30.

Of Monsters And Men – Little Talks

TODAY

I don’t like gourmet cooking or this cooking or that cooking. I like good cooking. Good morning, Folks!

Tim Cook says Apple has sourced 10 million masks

BLOOMBRG via EDGE (March 26): Apple has sourced and procured 10 million masks and will donate them to the medical community in the U.S., Tim Cook said Wednesday in a video he posted on Twitter while working from home.

“These people deserve our debt of gratitude for all of the work that they’re doing on the front lines,” the CEO said, also thanking people who are still going into work to stock shelves at grocery stores and pharmacies. “It’s in these toughest times that we show our greatest strength.”

Proud to share we’ve been able to source 10M masks for the US and millions more for the hardest hit regions in Europe. Our ops teams are helping to find and purchase masks from our supply chain in coordination with governments around the world.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 25, 2020

What’s Up Buddy?

AMBANK: STOCK FOCUS OF THE DAY
Gamuda: Navigating uncertainties HOLD

We cut our FY20F net profit forecast by 7% and trim our FV by 2% to RM2.78 (from RM2.84) based on “sum of parts” (SOP), valuing its construction business at 10x revised forward earnings, in line with our benchmark forward target P/E of 10x for large-cap construction stocks. Maintain HOLD.

Gamuda’s 1HFY20 results came in at 57% and 51% of our full-year forecast and the full-year consensus estimates. However, we consider the results below expectations as we expect a weak 3Q (Feb–Apr 2020) on the back of the 28-day movement control order (MCO) by the government (to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic) which will hurt Gamuda’s construction (except tunnelling which is considered to be “critical infrastructure”), property and toll road operations. Our earnings downgrade is to reflect this.

We believe the recent change in the political landscape has not altered the subdued outlook for the local construction sector. Given the still elevated national debt, coupled with the recent collapse of oil prices, we believe the government has very limited room for fiscal manoeuvre. However, we now see value in Gamuda after the steep correction in its share price in recent months. We believe Gamuda’s current share price will be very well supported by a dividend yield of 4–5% p.a., underpinned by recurring incomes from its toll roads.

Nocturne – Secret Garden ft. Anne Takle

Secret Garden is an Irish-Norwegian band specialised in new instrumental music, led by the duo consisting of Irish violinist and singer Fionnuala Sherry and Norwegian composer, arranger and pianist Rolf Løvland. Anne Takle is a Norwegian born singer/songwriter. 

Japan to set up Covid-19 HQ, possible step to emergency declaration

REUTERS via FocusM TOKYO (March 26): The Japanese government was preparing to set up a special headquarters on coronavirus as early as Thursday afternoon, a step that could set the stage for declaring a state of emergency over the outbreak, Kyodo news agency reported, after the capital of Tokyo saw a sharp rise in cases this week.

Under a law revised earlier in March to cover the coronavirus, the prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease poses a “grave danger” to lives and if its rapid spread threatens serious economic damage. The virus has already increased Japan’s recession risk.

If a state of emergency is declared, governors in hard-hit regions would have to take steps such as asking people to stay home, closing schools and other public facilities and cancelling large events.

FACTS

58 years ago – 1962 – Cost of Living In US. So how old is Malaysia turning this year?

TODAY

I’m a woman. I never do anything special with my hair. I simply wash it. It tends to get dry, I just try to put good, natural oils in it.  I do a deep conditioning mask, which is quite good. Good morning, Folks!

Hey Robert Plant, I love your hair. Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love

Willie Dixon, probably the foremost blues composer of the mid-20th Century, penned a song titled ‘You Need Love’, which he gave to Muddy Waters to record in 1962. Seven years later, that song’s lyrics would be the inspiration for Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’.

Auto giant Fiat Chrysler to make 1 million face masks for N. America

REUTERS via FMT (March 24) MILAN: Italian-US car giant Fiat Chrysler has confirmed plans to produce a million face masks a month and said it will distribute them to emergency services in North America to help the fight against coronavirus.

FCA, which is also trying to help produce badly needed respirators for patients in intensive care in Italy, is one of a number of large manufacturers adapting production lines to make products in desperately short supply.

“Production capacity is being installed this week and the company will start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks with initial distribution across the United States, Canada and Mexico,” it said in a statement released late on Monday.

The monthly output of one million masks will be donated to police, emergency medical staff, firefighters and to workers in hospitals and health care clinics, it said.

The decision to begin distribution of masks in North America rather than Italy, the company’s other home country, underlines the difficult balance global companies are having to maintain as they weigh where to offer help in the emergency.

Face masks and other protective equipment for medical staff have been running out across the world as thousands of new cases of the highly contagious virus have arrived in hospitals daily.

Fiat’s position as a historic pillar of Italian industry makes the issue of where to provide help sensitive, especially as Italy is the country worst hit by the virus so far.

Both FCA and its controlling shareholder Exor, the investment firm of Italy’s Agnelli family, have offered significant assistance to efforts to handle the crisis in Italy, where almost 6,000 people have died.

FCA and luxury automaker Ferrari, also controlled by Exor, are in talks with Siare, Italy’s biggest respirator manufacturer, to help it double production of the life-saving machines.

In addition, the Agnelli family said last week it was donating 10 million euros to fight the virus emergency in Italy.

It said companies controlled by Exor bought 150 ventilators and other medical equipment abroad, provided vehicles for support of people in need and were in touch with Italian authorities to help them buy medical equipment and healthcare products abroad.

As part of the process, an Exor spokesman said on Tuesday the group had made an initial purchase of 250,000 face masks in China which would be distributed in Italy and were expected to arrive by the end of this week.

Top Glove founder emerges as major shareholder of LBS Bina

EDGE (March 25) KUALA LUMPUR: Top Glove Corp Bhd founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai has emerged as a substantial shareholder of LBS Bina Group Bhd after purchasing 103.13 million shares or a 6.81% stake in the property developer.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, LBS Bina said Lim bought the shares via direct business transactions between last Thursday and yesterday at 32 sen a piece or RM33 million.

Separate filings showed Lim bought the shares in several blocks from LBS Bina’s single largest shareholder Gaterich Sdn Bhd — also the Lim family’s private investment vehicle. After the disposal, Gaterich has a 35.88% stake.

At closing yesterday, LBS Bina shares were up one sen or 2.94% at 35 sen, with a market capitalisation of RM530.18 million. Year to date, LBS Bina’s share price has fallen 30%.

My portfolio remains the same; PELIKAN + HIBISCUS + THRIVEN

Don’t take the above as investment advice for the next day or week or month — I have no idea if stocks will go up or down from here.

What’s Up Buddy?

RHB: Technical Analyzer
25 March 2020
FKLI & FCPO: FKLI: Bulls Are Back

Initiate long positions as the bulls continue to hold on. The FKLI staged a strong comeback in the latest session, ending 40.5 pts to close at 1,282.5 pts. The index also briefly tested the 1,300-pt mark. The strong performance came after the prior session’s sharp decline and has triggered the signal that the recent sessions’ counter-trend rebound is still developing. This ongoing rebound phase is meant to correct the index’s previous multi-month sharp retracement which reached an oversold RSI reading. Hence, we switch our trading bias to positive.

Trading Stocks: Guan Chong, LKL International, Dufu Technology Corp & Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia.

For information purposes. All trading involves risk. Only risk capital you’re prepared to lose. The information above is not investment advice.

The movement control order (MCO) which was originally scheduled to end on March 31 has been extended to April 14.

TODAY

What if we stopped being oversold the value of having more and being undersold the value of having less?

Market is oversold, but volatility persists

EDGE KUALA LUMPUR (March 23): With shares on Bursa Malaysia slumping further last week amid continued fears and uncertainty over the Covid-19 pandemic, analysts concurred that the market is grossly oversold.

“We are definitely oversold, judging from the rate of falling seen in the stock market last week,” said EquitiesTracker Holdings Bhd head of research Lim Tze Cheng.

“According to our studies, 324 counters have fallen more than 70% in the last few weeks. They account for one-third of the total number of listed companies on Bursa Malaysia,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.

Lim said the two-week movement control order announced last Wednesday, following a sharp spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, has also brought fear into the market.

The FBM KLCI nosedived to an 11-year low of 1,219.72 last Thursday after falling for five straight trading days.

The market recovered last Friday, with the benchmark index rising 6.85% to 1,303.28. Still, it was down 3.08% for the week, giving a negative return of 17.97% on a year-to-date basis.

Going forward, most experts think that the rebound would not continue as long as the pandemic continues.

“There is a possibility that the rally we saw today (last Friday) can be sustained in the next couple of days. However, the situation is still uncertain with the Covid-19 pandemic still flaring up,” said MIDF Amanah Investment Bank analyst Imran Yassin Md Yusof.

“Therefore, we foresee the market to be very volatile. And we could see selling pressure should the situation suddenly reverse. Based on these past two weeks, we believe that the good news and bad news could interchange between one day after the next,” Imran Yassin said.

Likewise, Lim said the sustainability of the rebound will very much depend on the pandemic development.

“To get a more sustainable rebound, firstly, we need to see Covid-19 cases cease to increase around the world. Secondly, a cure for the virus must be found,” he said.

While neither of these appears to be on the horizon, Lim is of the view that the virus is containable.

He said it is possible that the pandemic would be over in the next two or three months, given that China reported no new locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases from last Thursday to Saturday — the first time since the outbreak started in December last year — and only one domestic case yesterday.

Lim also said economic activities in the country will return to pre-outbreak levels once the pandemic is contained.

“Currently, businesses have halted [activities] in order to stop the virus from further spreading, while in a real crisis situation, businesses would be shutting down because they do not have demand to sustain them to continue operations.

“The economic condition is still healthy, as the banking system is fundamentally strong. Once the pandemic is over, businesses will go back to normal,” he added.

From a technical viewpoint, Public Investment Bank Bhd technical analyst Lee Siao Ping said the KLCI formed a hammer candlestick in the weekly chart — a bottom reversal candlestick pattern which indicated that buying interest has appeared after the index hit an intra-week low of 1,219.72.

Hence, he expects the KLCI to move higher this week barring negative external factors.

The index’s resistance level, he said, can be identified at 1,310; 1,360 and 1,400. Conversely, the support levels to look at are 1,250; 1,200 and 1,000.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng advised investors to adopt a wait-and-see approach for the next two weeks to observe the development of Covid-19 in Malaysia.

“Now we are seeing over a hundred new cases reported on a daily basis. As the movement restriction order has just been implemented by the government, we do not know how effective the measure is in containing the pandemic.

“There will be more clarity in the market when the new cases of the virus infection decline,” Wong said.

Having said that, he stressed that the benchmark index is undervalued as it is trading at negative two standard deviations below its 10-year mean in terms of price-earnings ratio (PER) and price-to-book ratio.

Meanwhile, Imran Yassin said MIDF has cut its 2020 year-end KLCI target to 1,480, from 1,600 previously, to reflect both earnings risk and depressed valuation of the index.

Affin Hwang Capital Research has also cut the KLCI’s year-end target, to 1,200 from 1,540 earlier, after it revised down corporate earnings growth to 4.7% contraction from an earlier 1.3% growth projection.

Amid the lower projections due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are still bright spots in the market.

Imran Yassin said utility companies such as Tenaga Nasional Bhd and telecommunication firms may see higher usage from homes. Other winners include food manufacturers and online shopping platforms.

He believes that there is some value going into the market now given the depressed valuations.

“However, investors will need to be cautious and pick on good quality stocks with solid fundamentals. Defensive stocks will be good candidates such as utilities and healthcare providers. Also, investors can look for stocks that have good dividend yields as [these] may cushion some of the downside risk,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lim said long-term investors may look at semiconductors counters as valuations are “more reasonable” now after falling sharply.

“Most of them (semiconductor counters) are trading at below 15 times PER and some even at as low as single digits, compared with 30-40 times during their peak.

Last week, the Bursa Malaysia Technology Index plummeted to as low as 23.81 before closing at 26.33 on Friday, marking a three-year low.

**This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 23, 2020.

In the Air Tonight cover by Northern Kings. “In the Air Tonight” is the debut solo single by the English drummer and singer-songwriter Phil Collins.

Strong and powerful voice to a very specific kind of pain. Those guys, wow. They took it to the next level. Northern Kings made up of four well known Finnish musicians: Jarkko Ahola from Teräsbetoni, ex-Dreamtale, Marco Hietala from Nightwish and Tarot, Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica and Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto from Charon and Harmaja.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says the National Security Council will consider exending its movement control order (MCO) to contain the Covid-19 spread on March 30, one day before its expiry. “We will study according to the latest developments. “If there are improvements, then MCO has shown positive effects, if the numbers and data are lower than what we see today,” he said at a press conference today.

TODAY

Good morning, Folks! You should RULE your money, Money shouldn’t RULE your Life.

US market sell-off brings short sellers US$344 bil profit

REUTERS via FocusM (March 22)- INVESTORS betting on declines in US stocks saw big profits in the last month as equities crashed while the global spread of coronavirus darkened economic prospects and net increases in short selling implying no turnaround in bearish sentiment.

Short sellers borrow shares in the hope of buying them back at a cheaper price and pocketing the difference.

US shorts saw a one-month paper profit of US$343.67 bil from the S&P 500 and Nasdaq’s Feb 19 peaks through to March 19, according to the latest data from financial technology and analytics firm S3 Partners, which measures bets against US stocks and American Depository receipts.

The market value of shares sold short dropped to US$656.08 bil on March 19 from US$958.77 bil on Feb 19, including a mark-to-market decline of US$343.67 bil in the shorted stocks and a net increase of US$40.98 bil in short exposure, according to S3.

“Short sellers are topping up their gas tanks … they continue to have a short bias to the market and they’re making sure they’re at the levels they want to be at,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at S3.

“At the moment we’re seeing active short activity across 80% of the sectors which implies there’s still a negative market sentiment,” he added.

Sectors that saw the largest increase in short selling were technology services, with a $3.94 billion increase followed by healthcare services with a $3.85 billion increase in shares shorted, according to S3.

Companies in the capital markets sector such as brokerages saw short selling increase to the tune of US$3.2 bil while investors increased short exposure to banks by about US$2.6 bil. That compared with a US$2.5 bil increase for biotechnology.

Industries with the biggest increases in short covering were led by technology hardware, where US$1.4 billion worth of shares sold short were covered, and leisure products, which saw a US$497.8 mil increase.

Pharmaceuticals and healthcare technology each saw more than US$200 mil increases in short covering.

Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc were the companies with the biggest increase in short covering during the month with US$1.47 bil of Microsoft shares being covered and $1.39 billion of Apple shares covered.

Since Apple is expected to have manufacturing issues with much of its production in Asia, Dusaniwsky said short sellers may be taking profits in case product deliveries rebound as the China coronavirus outbreak stabilises. Apple shares fell around 24% between Feb. 19 and March 19.

Companies with the biggest increases in short selling were McKesson Corp, Visa Inc, Morgan Stanley, Walt Disney and Comcast Corp.

Vincent cover by Passenger. “Vincent” 1971 is a song by Don McLean written as a tribute to Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh. The words and imagery of this song represent the life, work, and death of Vincent Van Gogh. It has since been recorded in 20 different languages.

Flu drug Favipiravir is effective in treating COVID-19

EDGE BEIJING (March 19): There is some good news in the fight against the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 outbreak that is creating havoc to societies and economies of numerous countries around the world.

Xinhua reported on March 17 that Favipiravir, the anti-viral influenza drug which was approved for clinical use in Japan in 2014, has shown good clinical efficacy against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Xinhua quoted Zhang Xinmin, director of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology, who held a press conference to announce the findings of the clinical trial.

More than 80 patients have participated in the clinical trial in The Third People’s Hospital of Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province, including 35 patients taking Favipiravir and 45 patients on a control group. Results showed that patients receiving Favipiravir treatment turned negative for the virus in a shorter time compared with patients in the control group, Xinhua reported.

A multi-centered randomized clinical study led by the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University also suggested that the therapeutic effect of Favipiravir is much better than that of the control group.

Favipiravir has been recommended to medical treatment teams and should be included in the diagnosis and treatment plan for COVID-19 as soon as possible, Zhang said.

In February, Reuters had reported that Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Co Ltd had received approval to start clinical trials to use the drug to treat pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus.

The company also received approval to manufacture the drug.

Favipiravir is marketed as an anti-influenza treatment by Fujifilm Holdings Corp. Following news of the successful clinical trials in China, Fujifilm shares shot up 15.4% to ¥5,230 (US$48.55) by the close of March 18 trading in Tokyo, pharma news website bioworld.com reported.

The pharma news website added that Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Co had bought exclusive rights to favipiravir from Fujifilm’s Toyama Chemical Co Ltd and it has received approval from the National Medical Products Administration to mass produce the drug and ensure stable supply.

This song is about Elvis Presley, Alannah Myles – Black Velvet.

This was a Canadian production. The song was written by the Canadian musicians David Tyson and Christopher Ward, and Alannah Myles is from Toronto.