WWC: The government's effort to pump prime the economy would benefit Wonderful Wire & Cable Bhd (WWC), OSK Investment Research said, as the accelerated pace of economic activity should enhance demand for the company's cables and wires. However, the impending war in the Middle East is expected to further push prices of basic materials, including copper, even higher, analysts added, and that would shave WWC's margins. But the more interesting issue, the research house said, was that market transactions in recent months pointed to the emergence of a new major shareholder with a 19.6% stake in the company.
Hong Leong Bank: AMRESEARCH gives Hong Leong Bank the vote in terms of the best exposure to consumer banking in Malaysia, based on its strong franchise and also its focus on direct sales in mortgages and credit cards, in addition to its motor vehicle hire-purchase. Although its price-to-book ratio is one of the richest at 1.6 times its book value, the research house countered that the superior three-year forward average return on equities of 16.8% was the highest among the banks under their coverage. According to Multex Global Estimate, the consensus net profit forecast for Hong Leong for the financial year ending June is RM560.85mil.
Top Glove: With a projected growth of 20% for its earnings per share in the current financial year and a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.1 time, Top Glove gets a buy recommendation from UT Securities. The counter currently trades at a very attractive valuation of about 7 times price- earnings ratio. Its current annual production capacity has risen to 5.1 billion pieces, from 4.1 billion in the previous year and future volume increase would be from its plants in Thailand and China. The unit in Thailand will increase its production capacity from four lines to 48 by 2005, and the China unit, from four to 32 over a three-year period.
MISC: Interest in Malaysian International Shipping Corp Bhd was somewhat dampened in late November when it announced a set of disappointing first-half results owing to difficult operating environment. That sparked many brokerages to call a sell on the heavyweight shipping company, which has been under-performing the CI by nearly 4% these past three months. But interest in MISC, South-East Asia’s biggest shipping company, may return following the latest announcement that it was interested in acquiring a stake in American Eagle Tankers Ltd, which carries more than one-tenth of US crude oil imports.
Tanjong: Power and gaming conglomerate Tanjong plc was badly hit in the past three months, after investors began to re-rate the counter against a conglomerate from a gaming company previously. Its shares were further hurt last month when the government revised betting duties and royalty payments on numbers forecast operators effective this year. The company will now have to pay higher betting duties of 6%, from 4% previously, which could adversely impact future earnings. Nonetheless, some analysts pointed out that selling in Tanjong had been overdone in past months, and expected its share price to gradually recover.