Thursday, May 21, 2009

EPF takes profit from banking stocks

By The Star

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has taken profit on almost all its banking shareholdings since the start of May with the exception of Public Bank Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd.

Analysts said the move was not entirely surprising given the sharp rises in most of the banks share prices over the past few weeks.

AmResearch senior banking analyst Fiona Leong said prices of banking stocks were at a good level in recent times for profit taking since EPF had been accumulating these stocks to its portfolio since December.

ECM Libra, in a latest update, said the profit-taking activity by EPF also explained the slight pause in the share price movement over the last one week, with most share prices trading within the -5% to +5% region for the week.

Despite profit taking, positive sentiment and interest surrounding banking stocks have certainly turned up a notch on the back of expectations that the worst of the recession is over and earlier concerns of widespread loan delinquencies may have been overdone.

“Share prices could continue on their uptrend on returning interest as most stocks are trading at relatively inexpensive valuations,” ECM Libra said.

On the recent results announcement, ECM Libra noted that Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB) continued to register strong growth in its loans book though its overall asset quality had shown some deterioration after the consolidation of CIMB Thai.

“Based on the recent results, it would seem that larger financial institutions, such as Public Bank Bhd and BCHB, are continuing to see decent growth in their loans book while smaller ones, such as Hong Leong Bank Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd, are seeing slowdowns, possibly as a conscious decision to protect their balance sheets and capital,” the report added.

Meanwhile, AmResearch’s Leong said the recent results were within expectations except for BCHB, which registered slightly higher net interest margins.

“The general net interest margin contractions registered were due to the recent cuts in OPR (overnight policy rate),” she said.

She added that local banks did not show any significant increase in non-performing loans (NPLs) ratio up till March.

“However, there could be a substantial increase in NPLs by the second quarter of this year,” she said, adding that loans growth were also expected to moderate sharply from 12.8% registered last year.

*Does this means that banking stock has a proven strong record for good profit margin? Should we look at the perspective that banking stock can be a long term high yield stock?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Make as much mistake as you can in the stock market? Learn from it...

By The Star

OMAHA, Nebraska: Billionaire Warren Buffett remains optimistic about the U.S. economy, but he says it's difficult to predict when the recession will end because American consumers changed their behavior significantly.

Berkshire Hathaway's chairman and chief executive conducted several TV interviews Monday after entertaining 35,000 people at his company's shareholders meeting in Omaha over the weekend.

"In the short term, things are going to be tough for a while. We see no real pickup in a whole variety of businesses we have, but they'll be doing fine in a few years," Buffett said Monday in an interview with CNBC.

Among Berkshire's more than 60 subsidiaries, there are furniture, brick, manufactured home, carpet, utility, insurance and jewelry companies, so Buffett gets a good sense of the health of the economy by looking at his internal reports.

On the positive side, Buffett said he sees residential real estate prices stabilizing in important parts of the country like California, although a huge oversupply of houses remains in southern Florida.

And Buffett's long-term outlook for the United States remains rosy.

"I am enormously optimistic about the future of this country over time," Buffett said.

Economists say the recession began in December 2007.

Buffett said the shift in American consumer behavior makes it hard to predict when the economy will recover.

He said many Americans who still have the same jobs, same savings and same homes responded to the financial turmoil by changing their spending and buying habits dramatically.

"I think the American public generally is in a different mood than a year ago or two years ago or three years ago. In fact, I know they are by their buying habits," Buffett said in an interview with Fox Business News.

Also on Monday, a Taiwanese business tycoon criticized an investment Berkshire made in a Chinese battery and car maker that has been accused of stealing trade secrets.

Terry Gou, head of Taiwanese electronics giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., questioned Buffett's decision to invest in China's BYD Company Ltd. in an interview with a Taiwanese newspaper.

Berkshire officials said they believe the allegations against BYD are unfounded.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said the allegations made against BYD have already been litigated in a Japanese court and discredited.

Last fall, one of Berkshire's subsidiaries acquired a 9.9 percent stake in BYD, which was valued at $230 million.

At the shareholders meeting Saturday, Buffett and Munger said they believe the U.S. government has generally done the right things to help the economy recover.

Buffett and Berkshire board member Bill Gates reinforced that notion in a joint interview on Monday.

Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, said the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program Congress passed last fall may have been flawed because its designers didn't predict how negative factors would work together, but it was necessary.

"It's not going to be perfect, but they've been doing the right things," Gates said to Fox Business.

"There wasn't anybody to count on except for government in late September."

Gates said he enjoys calling Buffett and talking about what's going on in the economy because of all the turmoil.

Buffett's company did have a rough year in 2008, but Berkshire still beat the S&P 500 index that Buffett measures his performance against.

Berkshire's Class A stock lost 32 percent in 2008, and Berkshire's book value - assets minus liabilities - declined 9.6 percent to $70,530 per share.

That was the biggest drop in book value under Buffett and only the second time its book value has declined.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 37 percent in 2008.

Berkshire reported a 2008 profit of $4.99 billion, or $3,224 per Class A share.

That was down 62 percent from the previous year, but better than many companies. Berkshire plans to release its first-quarter results on Friday afternoon.

* Its diff to predict the buying behaviour of the consumers after a fall in the economy. I would said this is where when ppl don make mistake they wont learn, so make as much mistake as u can as long as u don repeat the mistakes. Same goes with Malaysia stock market, have a quota for yourself and give yourself the guts to buy the stock that you had analysed. If there is a mistake on yr analyst on that stock and you ended up losing money, jz make sure you wont repeat that mistake again.