#Stocks to Watch* RHB Capital, Media Prima, Dialog, Ireka, UOA Development, Yee Lee Corp

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 22): The FBM KLCI could likely end the week on a tepid note and extend its loss for a third day running on Friday, despite the improved performance at most regional markets on Thursday.

Asian shares rose on Thursday as a survey showed China's manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in 13 months in November, adding to optimism after firm US factory data that the global growth slowdown may have turned a corner, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan extended early gains to rise 0.8% to a one-week high, it said.

Meanwhile, European shares extended a week-long rally on Thursday as manufacturing surveys in China and the United States boosted confidence over the global economic recovery.

However, analysts said similar surveys for euro area activity due later are expected to show the region stuck in recession, which could sour sentiment, though trading is likely to be subdued with Wall Street closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, said Reuters.

Affin Investment Bank vice president and head of retail research Dr Nazri Khan in a note Thursday said that going forward, he expects the FBM KLCI to trend lower on concerns over uncertainty surrounding the US fiscal cliff, new conservative leadership change in China, escalating violence in the Middle East and European gross domestic product (GDP) data confirming recession status again.

He said that there were signs that US politicians may face stiff challenges to put the country's public finances in order by January and may not have the resource to reach a budget compromise in a timely fashion.

Failure to avoid the fiscal cliff will result in sovereign rating downgrade and potentially possible to push the US into a mild recession again, he said.

Nazri said that on the local front, the local market's close below the strong 1,630 support level suggested a moderately negative setup for more weakness next week.

"We believe the logical downside objective will be 1,620 and 1,600 level while the next area of resistance is 1,630 and 1,650 level."

Among the stocks that could be in focus on Friday on Bursa Malaysia are RHB Capital Bhd; Media Prima Bhd; Dialog Group Bhd; Ireka Corporation Bhd; UOA Development Bhd; and Yee Lee Corp Bhd.

RHB Capital's net profit for the third quarter (3Q) ended Sept 30, 2012 rose 14.37% year-on-year to RM487.48 million from RM426.21 million a year ago, driven by higher net interest income, other operating income and income from Islamic banking business as well as lower allowance for impairment on loans and financing,

The banking group on Thursday said that its revenue for the quarter rose to RM1.96 billion versus RM1.77 billion in 2011.

Earnings per share was 21.80 sen compared to 19.40 sen a year earlier, while net asset per share was RM5.76.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, RHB Capital's net profit rose to RM1.37 billion from RM1.26 billion in 2011, on the back of revenue RM5.79 billion compared to RM5.23 billion in 2011.

Reviewing its performance, RHB Capital said the improved performance was mainly due to higher net interest income and other operating income, lower allowance for loan impairment and impairment on other assets, partially offset by higher other operating expenses.

On its prospects, RHB Capital said the completion of the acquisition of OSK Investment Bank Group in November 2012 had enhanced the group's product offerings and geographical footprint into eight countries across the Asean region and Hong Kong.

"The group continues to strengthen its leadership position in targeted markets and product segments, building strong customer relationships as well as leveraging on the group's infrastructure and multiple distribution networks," it said.

RHB Capital chairman Datuk Mohamed Khadar Merican said the group foresees a continued competitive operating environment for the rest of the financial year.

"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the group expects satisfactory results for the remainder of the financial year," said Mohamed Khadar in a statement Thursday.

Media Prima's net profit for third quarter ended Sept 30, 2012 rose 10.8% to RM59.15 million from RM53.37 million, on the back of a 4.7% revenue growth.

It said on Thursday that revenue increased to RM437.21 million from RM417.47 million the same quarter last year.

That helped net profits for the first nine months of 2012 to increase 3.1% to RM136.73 million from RM132.60 million the same period last year even as revenue inched 2.2% higher to RM1.22 billion from RM1.19 billion.

"The results reflect a moderate growth, reflecting the challenges faced following the gradual slowdown in advertising expenditure (Adex) spending trend," Media Prima said in notes accompanying its accounts.

Media Prima also declared a second interim single tier dividend for the current year ending Dec 31, 2012 of 3 sen per share, bringing total dividend declared so far to 6 sen per share.

Dialog is expected to book initial income from the redevelopment of the mature Bayan oil field in Sarawak by financial year ending June 30, 2014.

Executive chairman Ngau Boon Keat said on Thursday that Dialog and its joint venture partner US-based Halliburton will register income when they help produce more oil from the Bayan field, which is owned by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).

"We will invest progressively into the project in the next 24 years," Ngau told reporters after Dialog's AGM on Thursday.

Ireka has been given approval by the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City to carry out the business of importing and distribution of computer hardware, computer programming under i-Tech Network Solutions (Vietnam) Co Ltd.

In its statement to Bursa Malaysia Thursday, Ireka said the investment certificate was dated Nov 12 and i-Tech would also be providing consultancy services as well as computer system management.

UOA Development's third quarter (3Q) net profits rose 51.1% year-on-year to RM83.91 million even as it booked higher property sales from on-going projects with total unbilled sales at RM797.7 million as at end-Sept this year.

Net profit for the quarter ended Sept 30, 2012 rose to RM83.91 million from RM55.54 million even as revenue for the three-month period rose 79.8% to RM282.34 million from RM157.06 million in the same quarter last year.

Yee Lee Corp's third quarter (3Q) net profit more than doubled from a year earlier although revenue shrank as the diversified entity's lower operating and finance expenses, and income from a listed associate boosted the group's bottom line.

In a statement to the exchange on Thursday, Yee Lee Corp — the businesses of which includes upstream and downstream oil palm plantation operations, and production of aerosol cans — said net profit came to RM6 million in the third quarter ended September 30 (3QFY12) versus RM2.75 million a year earlier. Revenue declined 5% to M179.49 million from RM189.55 million, the company said.

"Going forward and barring any unforeseen and adverse circumstances, the board believes that the group will continue to remain profitable for the remaining quarter," Yee Lee Corp said.

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