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Straits Times 3,115.03 -11.06 -0.35%
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Editorial Desk
Editorial Desk | 02 March 2012
By: Xavier Lim
Articles (51) Profile

Crude oil prices rose to multi-month highs, traded well above US$109 per barrel due to geopolitical tensions related to Iran and its nuclear program, before retreating. On the other hand, equities are in a holding pattern, giving not much of a hint as to which direction it is heading.

Meanwhile, the Euro zone economic sentiment indicator rose to 94.4 in February as compared to the previous month, which stood at 93.4. The industry index rose to minus 5.8 from minus 7.0 and the retail index increased to minus 14.3 from minus 15.5 in January while the construction index also improved from minus 28.1 to minus 24.5 month-on-month. However, the services index fell to minus 0.9 as compared to previous month’s minus 0.7. Nevertheless, the consumer confidence index rose to minus 20.3 in February from minus 20.7.

Still on the Euro zone, the European Central Bank injected 529.5 billion euros through its second round of Long-term Refinancing Operation into the region’s financial system as part of its efforts to shore up the region’s economy and head off a credit crunch. Elsewhere, the US economy expanded at a better than expected 3 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2011 due to higher consumer spending, non-residential fixed investment and improvement in net exports.

Closer to home, South Korea posted a first time current account deficit of US$772 million in nearly two years. However, the country’s industrial production rose 3.3 percent after three months of declines in January. At the same time, Japan reported a rise of 2 percent in their factory outputs aided by auto and electronics makers.

All the above served to boost investors’ sentiment, which remains firm despite some corrective pressure after a big rally since the turn of the year.

This issue, our cover story is on China Merchants Holdings (Pacific). Having registered record revenue and an all-time high in net profit attributable to shareholders for FY11, the Mainboard-listed Chinese toll road operator appears poised to achieve another round of robust top- and bottom-lines for this year.

We also did a review on the recently concluded seminar ‘Trade with Confidence with Mike Bellafiore’, jointly organised by Phillip Capital Group and the Securities Investors Association (Singapore). Being the official media partner at the aforesaid event, Shares Investment had the opportunity to attend the event and mingle with the speakers to exchange views on current market issues.

Last but not least, we take a close peek at Olivia Lum’s Hyflux, which has experienced a bottleneck in clinching overseas deals lately.

While we do have some favourable-looking headlines out of the US and Europe, investors should be mindful that there could be a reversal in equities after the corporate earnings season.

Armed with an arsenal of investment knowledge, Xavier is the Senior Research Editor at Shares Investment.

Please click here for more information about this author.


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