Highlights – Stocks to Watch

MTD Capital, Top Glove, Hong Leong Bank, Media Prima, NSTP, Scomi Group.

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI could open higher this morning on a cue from Wall Street’s positive start. The local bourse had closed 1.78 points lower to 1,269.03 points yesterday, tracking weak sentiment in the US, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 10,449.81 points, the S&P 500 index also rose 0.4%, to 1,108.61 points and the Nasdaq composite added 10 points, or 0.5% to 2,210.35 points at Wednesday’s open in the US, as investors wait for the Federal Reserve’s latest outlook on the economy. The central bank will make its final policy statement of the year at the end of a two-day meeting today.

Stocks to watch on the FBM KLCI include MTD Capital Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLB) and Ho Hup Construction Company Bhd. Other stocks of note are Media Prima Bhd (MPB), New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) and Scomi Group Bhd.

MTD Capital announced yesterday that its CEO Datuk Azmil Khalili Khalid, along with other parties it had tied up on its South Luzon Expressway project in the Philippines, had received an ex parte temporary restraining order prohibiting MTD’s 30%-owned unit Manila Toll Express System (MATES) from taking over the operation and maintenance of SLEX from the Philippine National Construction Corp.

Meanwhile, local stock market darling Top Glove Corp Bhd reported a 90.9% jump in net profit to RM65.2 million in the first quarter ended Nov 30, 2009, driven by cost-savings, improvements in product quality, productivity and aggressive marketing strategies.

HLB is said to be among parties interested in acquiring Thailand’s Siam City Bank. Thailand’s central bank was reported in November to be looking to sell its 47.6% stake in Siam City for US$1 billion (RM3.42 billion).

Stocks of Ho Hup Construction are in the limelight as it is disposing of a 13,398 sq m plot of freehold land in Bukit Jalil for RM7.64 million. The land is one of the company’s non-core landbanks slated for disposal in October this year and was sold to Action Master Sdn Bhd, which deals with bowling equipment and accessories. Gains from the sale are expected to be recognised in Ho Hup’s books only in December 2010.

MPB and NSTP shares are also in focus with MPB’s deadline extension to Jan 4, 2010 for all of NSTP’s remaining shares not already owned by MPB. The original closing date for the offer at RM2.40 per share was Dec 17, 2009.

Attention is also on Scomi Group Bhd, which has successfully raised RM151 million from the completion of a rights issue to fund further investments in its subsidiaries and/or new businesses. – The Edge

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