Monday, November 24, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: The word crisis connotes danger and opportunity in mandarin. A market swarmed by sellers has given the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) the opportunity to be aggressively buying into stocks that appear to have been oversold and are fundamentally strong.
The statutory fund had been raising its stake in a number of blue chips, including plantation stocks, from Oct 28 to Nov 10.
Notably, it emerged as a substantial shareholder in Kulim (M) Bhd after buying a total of 15.78 million shares between Nov 6 and 11 in the open market, giving it a 5.12% direct stake in the plantation company.
The fund raised its shareholding in Tenaga Nasional Bhd to 635.14 million shares after buying a total of 14.56 million shares between Oct 28 and Nov 4, raising its stake to 14.65%.
Sime Darby Bhd, whose shares had been seeing a selling spree lately following the fall in crude palm oil price, saw EPF acquiring 10.31 million shares and lifting its stake to 935.04 million shares or 15.56%.
EPF took up a total of 9.58 million shares in IOI Corporation Bhd between Nov 3 and 10 via portfolio managers. It now has a total of 758.32 million shares or 12.86% stake in the plantation firm.
Among other counters, EPF was also a net buyer in AirAsia Bhd, Gamuda Bhd, TM International Bhd (TMI), Public Bank Bhd, YTL Corporation Bhd and YTL Power International Bhd.
Analysts said investors wanting to follow EPF’s lead in the market needed to have the appropriate risk appetite, the willingness and financial capabilities to stay invested for at least the next two years in order to reap the upside potential.
Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew said EPF’s buying into the current bleeding stock market gave an extra bit of assurance to investors to put their money into the local stock market.
Nonetheless, while the stocks may be relatively cheaper now, he said “we are buying into next year’s earnings and we don’t know what will happen next year in view of the US economic downturn.”
Pong also warned of a huge correlation between the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) and the Dow Jones industrial average, as the local index had been moving almost in tandem with the Dow recently.
Nevertheless, Pong said he was hopeful that the local index would be able to disengage from the Dow based on the performance of the KLCI last Friday.
The index closed 1.56 points higher at 866.88 last Friday but is down 492.97 points, or 36.25%, from 1,359.85 a year earlier.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Labels: Dental care
Sunday, November 09, 2008
The situation is so severe, GM has suspended talks to acquire Chrysler and is appealing to the government for help as the slumping economy drags cars sales to their lowest level in a quarter century.
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said the company will "take every action" possible to avoid bankruptcy.
"We're convinced that the consequences of bankruptcy would be dire," he said, adding that the company would use every source of potential funding. "We need to find a way to get through this, and that's really our focus," he said.
GM also planned more job cuts, including another 5,500 salaried and factory workers. But company officials cautioned that those measures alone would not be enough and that federal aid is essential.
Ford saw its cash supply decline rapidly and announced its own job cuts Friday. But it's in better shape because the company borrowed billions of dollars in 2007 by mortgaging its factories. The Dearborn-based manufacturer said it had enough cash to make it through 2009.
Friday's events called into question the future of Detroit's three automakers and heightened pressure on the government to take action.
President-elect Barack Obama on Friday indicated that help may be on the way. At a Chicago news conference, he said Congress must pass an economic stimulus measure either before or just after he takes office in January, and he mentioned aid for the auto industry.
Top executives of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler LLC and the president of the UAW met with Congressional leaders Thursday to discuss some $50 billion more in loans, participants said. The loans would include $25 billion to help the companies withstand the weak economy and another $25 billion for future. The money would be in addition to the $25 billion in loans that Congress passed in September to help retool auto plants to build more fuel-efficient vehicles.
IHS Global Insight analyst George Magliano said the cash problems reported by GM and Ford were worse than experts had thought. And that raised the risk of bankruptcy.
"It's close," he said about the possibility of one of the U.S. automakers filing for Chapter 11 protection. "Up until now, we knew the cash numbers were tough, but we didn't know how bad."
Companies that run out of cash generally can sell assets, cut costs or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to keep creditors at bay while they reorganize.
GM had said previously it could fall short of cash needed to operate in the first few months of next year, and Ford has said it has about seven months of money, Magliano noted.
If GM files for bankruptcy, Fitch Ratings analyst Mark Oline said there is "a very high risk" that it would pull in Ford and Chrysler, too, because GM probably would be forced to discount vehicles deeply to generate cash for creditors, and other automakers would be forced to follow.
GM said it lost $2.5 billion in the third quarter, but more important, it spent $6.9 billion more than it took in - nearly double the spending rate of the second quarter.
The news came just hours after Ford announced it had lost $129 million for the quarter. The company burned through $7.7 billion in cash, but said it could keep going through 2009. Ford also said it would cut another 2,260 white-collar workers in North America.
GM called off talks with Chrysler to concentrate on its own business.
Privately held Chrysler wouldn't comment on GM's remarks, but said it remains focused on returning to profitability. It also said it will continue to "explore multiple strategic alliances or partnerships."
GM's cuts included the indefinite layoff of about 3,600 workers beginning early next year as it slows production at 10 assembly plants to match anticipated weaker sales.
"We are cutting to the bone," said Fritz Henderson, GM's president and chief operating officer. "What we want to try to do is size the business for this kind of volume level ... and frankly, put us in much better shape when the industry improves."
GM reported a net loss of $4.45 per share during the quarter, compared with a record-setting loss of $39 billion, or $68.85 per share, a year earlier. Its automotive operations saw an adjusted loss of $2.8 billion.
Revenue fell to $37.9 billion from $43.7 billion.
The results exceeded Wall Street estimates. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a loss of $3.70 per share on sales of $39.4 billion.
The company announced it would bolster its cash reserves by $5 billion by the end of next year through reduction of sales promotions and further production cuts in the first quarter.
GM will cut capital spending to $4.8 billion from $7.2 billion and delay several vehicle models. But GM said it will continue funding for the Chevrolet Volt electric car and the Chevrolet Cruze, a small fuel-efficient model. Both are due out in 2010.
GM also suspended its matching contribution for employee 401k plans, and suspended tuition reimbursement. In addition, salaried employees will not receive incentive pay next year for their work in 2008, GM said.
GM, which has about 123,000 employees in North America, will also cut another 1,900 salaried jobs on top of the 5,100 announced last summer.
But the cuts and delays may not be enough to keep the company's cash supply from falling dangerously low.
"GM's estimated liquidity during the remainder of 2008 will approach the minimum amount necessary to operate its business," the company said in a news release.
And the company's cash shortage in the first two quarters of 2009 could fall significantly short of the minimum amount unless industry conditions improve or GM gets government funding, GM said.
GM shares fell 44 cents, or 9.2 percent, to $4.36 in Friday trading. Ford shares rose 4 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.02.
Besides, the automaker was racking up billions in profits by selling pickups and sport utility vehicles. Times were good and gas was cheap.
"Blue" is only a small blip in automotive history, but it tells a big part of the story about why Detroit automakers are in a mess so critical they could be only months away from bankruptcy.
Democratic leaders in Congress asked the Bush administration on Saturday to provide more aid to the struggling auto industry, which is bleeding cash and jobs as sales have dropped to their lowest level in a quarter-century.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that the administration should consider expanding the $700 billion bailout to include car companies.
Critics say leaders over the years at Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and what is now Chrysler LLC were slow to take on unions, failed to invest enough in new products, ceded the car market to the Japanese and were ill-prepared for the inevitable rise in gas prices that would make their trucks and SUVs obsolete.
"There's been 30 years of denial," said Noel Tichy, a University of Michigan business professor and author who ran General Electric Co.'s leadership program from 1985-87 and once worked as a consultant for Ford. "They did not make themselves competitive. They didn't deal with the union issues, the cost structures long ago, everything that makes a successful company."
Industry representatives, however, say their critics are simplistic, giving them no credit for huge progress this decade in cutting costs, raising productivity, and building competitive cars while handling multiple government regulations and a powerful labor union.
"In the last five years, there's been more restructuring done in the automotive business than any other business in the history of the United States," said Tony Cervone, a GM vice president of communications.
Whatever the reasons, the Detroit Three are closer to collapse than ever, and likely won't make it without billions in government loans.
On Friday, GM posted a $2.5 billion third-quarter loss and ominously said it could run out of money before the end of the year. The company spent $6.9 billion more than it took in for the quarter and reported that it had $16.2 billion in cash available at the end of September.
Ford reported a $129 million loss but said it burned up $7.7 billion in cash for the period. It had $18.9 billion on hand as of Sept. 30. Its chief financial officer says he's confident Ford will make it through 2009, but that's because the company took out a huge loan last year.
Industry analysts believe Chrysler, now a private company that does not have to open its books, is as bad off as GM as U.S. sales continue to plummet because of tight credit and lack of consumer confidence due to the economy.
To survive, automakers are pressing Washington for $50 billion in low-interest loans on top of $25 billion already approved to build more fuel-efficient vehicles. The $25 billion, though, is gummed up in Energy Department regulations and may not be available until next year.
The industry's path to cliff's edge is a complex one that even critics say is intertwined with government fuel economy and safety regulations and the United Auto Workers union.
The demise started in the 80s when Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. mastered building reliable and efficient cars while the Detroit Three lagged behind.
As GM, Ford and Chrysler saw their market share start to slip, the 90s arrived and high profits returned as Americans snapped up pickup trucks and SUVs.
As Honda and Toyota took over the small and mid-size car markets, Ford, GM and Chrysler put most of their resources into trucks and SUVs, which brought in billions in profits that covered growing health care, pension and labor costs.
"In a market-based economy when you have to try to be profitable, you go where the money is," said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.
When times were good, the automakers did not take on the UAW, which the companies say drove up their labor costs to $30 per hour more than Japanese companies paid their workers. The figure includes pension and health care costs for hundreds of thousands of retirees.
When GM pushed for changes in 1998, the union went on strike at two key Flint, Mich., parts plants, shutting down the company and costing it about $2 billion in profits.
"They were making money and the union had a monopoly," Cole said. "They'd shut them down. That's why they had some very lengthy strikes that were very painful."
But when the SUV and truck market started to fade in the mid-2000s, executives realized their business model would no longer work and began globalizing their vehicles, streamlining manufacturing processes and developing new and better cars.
The UAW, realizing that the companies were in trouble, agreed to a landmark new contract last year that nearly eliminated the labor cost difference between the Detroit Three and the Japanese, shifting retiree health care costs to a union-administered trust fund.
But just as the cost cuts started to take hold and new products were rolling out, gas prices rose rapidly to around $4 per gallon and Wall Street collapsed, virtually eliminating credit which 60 percent of car buyers need.
"A lot of things sort of coalesced simultaneously," said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis for J.D. Power and Associates.
Automakers have all said bankruptcy is not an option because people would not buy cars from a company that might not exist in a few years. But if the car companies run out of money and can't pay the bills, bankruptcy could be forced on them, according to industry analysts.
GM's statements that it may run out of cash this year or next likely will have an effect on sales, Libby said.
"It doesn't help, and they know that," he said.
The current crisis, Cervone says, is not unique to the domestics. Honda and Toyota, he says, also have seen huge sales drops in the U.S. in recent months.
If Detroit gets federal help, the companies that do survive should become profitable next year, Cole said, if the credit market thaws out.
Cole says there's no way at this point the Detroit automakers can survive without federal aid. But if they get it, the ones that do survive should become profitable again next year if the credit markets thaw out.
"They'll get out of it," says Libby. "They've got to do what they've got to do. They're backed up against the wall."
As you all might be knew that the US Automakers alwasys ignored Oil price and be competitive with other automaker especially Japanese and Korean for the past decades. As a result, now these Giant US automakers had felt hard to recover from recent economy crisis. It is difficult to find a good solution where the company policy should go ahead for. Making Small fuel economy cars but less profit margin also it is hard to compete with Japanese, on the other hand to continue with their way to do business, they already knew that no future had seen due to high gasoline price and will continue to get higher and higher soon.
Even if Toyota and Honda themselves now had already facing profit reduction issues. In other words the US's economy might be hard to be recovered in the next few years.
Good luck US and everybody on earth.
Mr. Barack Obama might be the most luckies person on earth but he might be the most unluckiest guys on earth who has to face such a WORST economy situation in US and the world. EVERYONE is watching how he acts soon.
Labels: Auto news
Friday, November 07, 2008
Honda has just unveiled a new device to help fatigued walkers. It works by supporting the person’s body weight to reduce stress, particularly on the knees, and can even assist in stair climbing. The device is designed for people who stand for long periods of time in factories or who make deliveries where long walks make up a significant proportion of their day.
It’s rather like bicycling. You mount the contraption and the system’s computer, motor, gears, battery, and sensors all work together to help you move your legs.
Honda plans to put a prototype into an assembly line factory to test it. The company has invested in mobility research as the potential market for an aging population is huge.