Rabu, 4 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Global chips sales above US$27b in October, highest ever


KUALA LUMPUR: Global chips sales rose above the US$27bil mark in October, 2013 which was the record high for the semiconductor industry.

The US-based Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said on Wednesday worldwide sales of semiconductors reached US$27.06bil in October, which was a 7.2% increase from a year ago when sales were US$25.24bil.

The SIA said the October sales were 0.8% higher from September. "October marked the eighth consecutive month of increasing sales and the industry's first-ever month above US$27bil in sales," it said.

The group represents US companies in semiconductor manufacturing and design. All monthly sales numbers are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.

"Additionally, a new WSTS industry forecast projects that the industry will reach its highest-ever annual sales total in 2013, and continued growth is projected for 2014 and 2015," said the SIA.

Regionally, sequential monthly sales increased in the Americas (3.3%), Europe (1.7%), and Asia Pacific (0.1%), but fell 1.4% in Japan.

The SIA said when compared with October 2012, sales increased in the Americas (20.1%), Europe (8.6%), and Asia Pacific (7.4%), but fell in Japan (-12.1%), in part due to the devaluation of the Japanese yen.  

The association's president and CEO Brian Toohey, commenting on the sales, said with eight straight months of growth and a new monthly sales record in October, the global semiconductor industry was "on track to exceed US$300bil in annual sales for the first time ever in 2013".

He said the industry was projected to maintain solid growth for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014, led largely by the Americas, which has remained well ahead of last year's pace.

Qantas issues profit warning, announces job cuts, shares plummet


SYDNEY: Qantas Airways Ltd warned on Thursday it expects to post an underlying pre-tax loss between A$250 million ($225 million) and A$300 million for the first half of the current year, following a "marked deterioration" in market conditions.

Shares in Australia's national flag carrier sank as much as 15 percent after it said the outlook for the second half of the year "remains volatile" and flagged 1,000 job cuts as part of an accelerated cost reduction program.

Qantas, which is waging a bitter battle with domestic rival Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd, declined to provide further guidance, citing uncertainty in global economic conditions, fuel prices and foreign exchange rates.

"The challenges we now face are immense," Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement. "Since early 2012, there has also been an unprecedented distortion of the Australian domestic market, with Virgin Australia's strategy to seek majority ownership and massive financial backing from foreign government-owned airlines."

Joyce said Qantas would accelerate its cost reduction program, pushing to achieve total savings of A$2 billion over three years.

Measures will include 1,000 job cuts within 12 months, a pay cut for Joyce and the board, a pay freeze and no bonuses for executives and a review of spending with the airline's top 100 suppliers.

Shares in Qantas were down 14.4 percent at A$1.03 in morning trade, after touching a 16-month low at A$1.01.

Qantas has been pressing the Australian government to intervene in the aviation market as Virgin taps its majority owners, Gulf carrier Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand, for A$350 million to add capacity and lift service levels.

Qantas, which earlier this year signed an alliance with Dubai-based Emirates Airlines, claims it is hampered by regulations binding it from seeking significant foreign ownership or government support.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey last week gave Qantas some reason to hope, flagging potential changes to allow majority foreign ownership or increased government support.

Acknowledging that Qantas is in "regulatory handcuffs", Hockey sparked speculation about the airline's future by calling for a debate on the Qantas Sale Act, the law that caps foreign ownership of the airline at 49 percent.

The profit warning follows a doubling of Qantas's underlying profit to A$192 million for the most recent financial year as shrinking losses on its international arm offset tougher competition on its lucrative domestic routes. - Reuters

KLCI ekes out marginal gains, TM, HLFG up


KUALA LUMPUR: Gains in Telekom Malaysia and HLFG pushed the FBM KLCI marginally higher in early Thursday trade but BIMB Securities Research cautioned investors about downside for local equities.

At 9.12am, the KLCI was up 0.03 of a point to 1,821.93. Turnover was 52.90 million shares valued at RM34.44mil. There were 94 gainers, 76 losers and 140 counters unchanged.

BIMB Securities Research said the KLCI succumbed to some heavy last minute selling as the index dipped 2.39 points at 1,821.90 on Wednesday.

"We noticed that foreign funds selling persisted with another RM164mil net outflow and expect this to continue," it said.

The research house said Malaysia by virtue of strong local buying support was now the most expensive within the Asean region trading at around 17.2 times on 2013 figures and 15.8 times next year.

"In view of this, we believe investors should be wary that the downside of the local bourse very much outweighs that of upside hence we are sticking to our Sell on Strength recommendation. For today, we expect the index to retrace albeit minimal within the 1,815/18 range," BIMB Research said.

BAT was the top gainer, adding 38 sen to RM63.28 with 1,300 shares done. However, Nestle fell 20 sen to RM67.80 and Carlsberg lost 18 sen to RM12.20.

Among banks and finance-related stocks, HLFG rose 28 sen to RM15.54 and Public Bank foreign 16 sen to RM18.54 while insurer LPI added six sen to RM16.96. However, Public Bank lost eight sen to RM18.30 and Hong Leong  Bank six sen lower to RM14.14.

TM added seven sen to RM5.37 while MPI gained five sen RM3.28.

Puncak Niaga shares and its warrants fell 14 sen each to RM3.14 and RM2.14 while KPS lost nine sen to RM1.98.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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