#Stocks to Watch* Pharmaniaga, UEM Land, Hartalega, Malaysia Smelting, Perstima and icapital

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 6): Based on corporate developments and company results today, stocks that could attract trading interest may include Pharmaniaga Bhd; UEM Land Bhd; Hartalega Holdings Bhd; Malaysia Smelting Corporation Bhd (MSC group); Perusahaan Sadur Timah Malaysia Bhd (Perstima); and icapital.biz Bhd.

The general market sentiment could be influenced by the outcome of the US Presidential Election to be held soon.

Big cap stocks, led by banking and telcos, that had been bashed down today ahead of the poll might recover losses after the election — if the outcome is seen in favour of the equities market.

Pharmaniaga's net profit for the third quarter ended 30 Sept 30, 2012 rose 136% to RM26 million compared to RM11 million in the corresponding quarter last year, said the company. This brought profits for the first nine months of the year rising 73% to RM71 million, from RM41 million recorded last year.

"Driving factors include the continuing need for medical treatment, growing healthcare needs and an aging population. Furthermore, we have made significant productivity enhancements to our system and manufacturing processes," Pharmaniaga chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin said in the statement.

UEM Land announced that former banker, stockbroker and Sunrise executive chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong is resigning from UEM Land as a non-independent and non-executive director with effect from Jan 1, 2013. According to Bursa announcement, his resignation is to focus on his family and his own business.

Although the rumour has been around for some time, there could be knee jerk reaction to the news as Tong was seen as the key man behind Sunrise Bhd, which had been sold to UEM Land.

Hartalega's net profit for the second quarter ended Sept 30, 2012 rose 26.8% year-on-year to RM58.57 million on the back of a 11% revenue growth to RM255.01 million, due mainly to improved efficiency and lower raw materials cost, according to a company statement.

Earnings for the first half of the fiscal year rose to RM112.01 million, compared with RM100.91 million in the preceding year's corresponding period as revenue increased to RM502.69 million from RM448.91 million. Hartalega also declared a first interim dividend of 3.5 sen per share, payable on Dec 13 this year.

MSC group registered a net loss of RM926,000 for the third quarter (3Q) ended Sep 30, 2012, from a net profit of RM41.81 million in the corresponding quarter in 2011. Revenue for the quarter fell by 51.3% to RM441.59 million, from RM907.04 million a year ago. Loss per share was 0.9 sen, versus earnings of 41.8 sen previously.

"The fall in revenue was due to lower volume and lower average tin prices. Average market tin price for 3Q 2012 fell by 22.2% to US$19,300 per tonne compared with US$24,800 per tonne in 3Q 2011," said MSC, which expects the operating environment to continue to be difficult.

Perstima saw its net profit for the second quarter ended Sept 30 decline 35.4% to RM5.04 million from RM7.81 million in the previous corresponding quarter, due to lower margins and sales volume during the period.

Perstima's revenue also fell by 18% to RM166.87 million from RM203.49 million last year as both its Malaysian and Vietnamese businesses suffered poorer sales.

icapital, whose share had risen today on hostile takeover reports, may continue to attract trading interest following a warning by its key manager Tan Teng Boo on Tuesday that he might quit his post as managing director if new directors from other major investors are voted into the board at the coming AGM on Saturday.

Tan, mainly responsible for the setting of icapital, is seen as the key driving force behind the success of the close-end fund.

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