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Krisis Amerika Gegarkan Selangor?
By Kapal Berita

25/2/2001 12:37 pm Sun

Saya fikir tidak perlu menterjemahkan semua rencana yang dikepilkan ini. Cukuplah dengan memberi sedikit peringatan ringkas betapa banyak syarikat gergasi Amerika sedang tenat ketika ini dan banyak antara mereka menyumbang tidak sedikit kepada perdagangan dan pekerjaan rakyat di sebelah sini.

Pertamanya sentimen pengguna merudum ketahap terendah sejak 7 tahun.

Saya memetik beberapa kata:

"These data are awful" atau "maklumat ini adalah teruk sekali".

"They threw the feds in disarray" atau "Ia membuat kerajaan berkecamuk"

"Its rotting" atau "Ia memburuk"

Nortel, syarikat terbesar dunia yang membekal gentian fiber sedang membuang 10,000 pekerja (11%). Sahamnya turun 33%

Nortel hilang $30 billion dalam nilai pasaran semasa pada Jumaat lalu. Nilai nya kini kurang lebih $61 billion.

Motorola melapurkan akan rugi buat pertama kali dalam 15 tahun Ia akan menutup 4 dari 55 kilangnya. Ia telah menggugurkan 7,000 pekerja sejak awal tahun ini.

Menurut John Chambers (Cisco Systems), Amerika sedang dalam kegawatan. Ia sepatutnya mengumumkan potongan faedah lebih awal pada bulan November, bukannya Januari.

Syarikat besar yang lain seperti JDS Uniphase Corp., Corning Inc, Sun Microsystems dan EMC telah merendahkan sasaran keuntungan mereka. Dan banyak syarikat lain akan menjejakki mereka juga.


Mampukah Malaysia bertahan dengan penutupan kilang dan pembuangan pekerja nanti? Jangan lupa Singapura turut terjejas dan ramai rakyat Johor berkerja di sana. Begitu juga rakyat Pulau Pinang dan Selangor. Ini semua kawasan BN! Dengan kenaikkan tarif air di Selangor, harga ubat-ubatan serta insuran dan tambang ia pasti mencekik rakyat marhain. Perlu diingat banyak syarikat makanan dan minuman gergasi beroperasi di negeri Selangor! Dan kilang Motorola juga berada di Selangor!

Cuba fikir baik-baik banyak juga kejadian pelik-pelik berlaku di bumi Selangor sejak mufti dibuang. Abu Hassan sendiri sudah terbuang dan Putrajaya (sebelum diwilayahkan) pun turut berlubang. Itu belum masuk beberapa kes yang melibatkan orang kenamaan dan kerabat raja darul ehsan. Atau kejadian di restoran kapal yang banyak berita rahsia tersimpan. Mungkin satu hari nanti seekor buaya mati terapung di dalam kolam.... kerana tidak cukup makan?

Saturday February 17, 1:59 AM

U.S. consumer sentiment falls to seven-year low

By Ross Finley

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A key barometer of U.S. consumer sentiment crumbled to its lowest level in more than seven years in February, bolstering the view that the Federal Reserve must keep cutting rates to steer the world's largest economy clear of recession.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index has fallen sharply over the past three months -- by a magnitude not seen since the outset of the last recession in 1990 -- as mass layoffs, ailing manufacturing, swooning stocks and overall malaise about the economy have slammed consumer optimism.

"Layoff announcements appear to have finally forced themselves into America's psyche," said Drew Matus, an economist at Lehman Brothers, referring to the thousands of American workers who have lost their jobs over the past month.

The report took the markets by surprise, as Wall Street economists had expected confidence to rebound slightly after the Fed slashed interest rates by a full percentage point in January -- in large part to help boost sagging sentiment.

The University of Michigan's preliminary February consumer sentiment index slipped to 87.8 -- not seen since November 1993 -- after scoring 94.7 in January. The sentiment index has now fallen nearly 20 points in three months.

The expectations index, which measures attitudes about the months ahead, also tumbled sharply, to 77.6 from 86.4 in January, also not seen since November 1993. The expectations index has tumbled 24 points over the same three-month period.

Meanwhile the preliminary current conditions barometer fell to 103.7, not seen since December 1995, from 107.7 in January.

Short-dated Treasury prices ripped higher after the news, on expectations the Fed would continue cutting interest rates aggressively to stave off recession. But stocks, already deep into the red on gloomy earnings forecasts by high-technology companies, did not react significantly.

"It's clearly a terrible report," said John Youngdahl, economist and Fed watcher at Goldman Sachs, adding that the three consecutive monthly falls were "unheard of outside of recession periods."

"This has got to be very disturbing for the Fed. It should be if it's not," Youngdahl said.

The Fed has repeatedly cited that keeping a floor under wavering consumer confidence was key to preventing the rapidly slowing economy from slipping into recession as consumer spending represents about two-thirds of overall economic activity.

This week a barrage of Fed officials underlined a message spelled out to Congress by Fed chief Alan Greenspan earlier this week that the economy, while facing near-term risks to growth, is likely to avoid a recession and recover by year's end.

But the unexpected fall in confidence threw this recent tack from the Fed into disarray.

It also came shortly after news late Thursday from Ottawa-based Nortel , the world's No. 1 supplier of fiber-optics telecommunications equipment, that it was laying off 10,000 staff or about 11 percent of its workforce, the latest in a series of mass layoffs so far this year.

"This report makes a mockery of the soothing Fed talk about better January data; these data are awful and if the Fed wants to stop the rot, they have to cut rates hard and fast," said Ian Shepherdson, economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, NY, in a research note.

The report follows the ABC/Money confidence index earlier this week, which showed Americans remained pessimistic about the future.

The Conference Board, a New York-based research firm, said at the end of January its gauge of consumer confidence suffered its steepest one-month drop since the last recession, in October 1990

Saturday February 17, 5:21 AM

Nortel plunge drags down string of stocks

By Susan Taylor

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Nortel Networks Corp. shares plunged 33 percent on Friday in the wake of a shock earnings warning from the world's No. 1 supplier of fiber-optic telecoms equipment, a move that dragged down the stocks of a string of suppliers and related companies.

Nortel's dramatic decline led to steep drops in the shares of key fiber-optics suppliers such as JDS Uniphase Corp. , Corning Inc. , and competitors such as networking giant Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies .

But Nortel bore the brunt of the damage. Its stock quickly dropped to a new 52-week low of $19.50 on the New York Stock Exchange and C$30.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange soon after the market opened.

Nortel lost about $30 billion in market value on Friday, leaving its value at about $61 billion.

The shares, which inched upward to $19.95 on New York and C$30.70 on Toronto in afternoon trade, are 75 percent below their high point this year.

Citing weak U.S. demand, particularly for its long-haul optical network equipment, Nortel warned of first-quarter revenues of $6.3 billion and a loss of 4 cents per share. Analysts had expected revenues of $8.1 billion and earnings of 16 cents per share.

Nortel halved its 2001 revenue growth forecast to 15 percent and slashed its earnings forecast by two-thirds to 10 percent.

The company also said it would also cut 10,000 staff to reduce costs, a 150 percent increase in previously announced layoffs of 4,000 employees. It has already cut about 6,000 jobs since the January announcement.

"This may cause some people to just throw in the towel on investing in this sector," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Paul Sagawa, who was the first to downgrade Nortel shares in September on concerns of a pending slowdown in spending.

The warning sparked a string of downgrades and a selling frenzy that shut down trade in Nortel shares several times on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.

The TSE, blaming an "unprecedented number of orders", said it was making a series of controlled halts and resumptions of Nortel throughout the day to ensure that trades were fairly processed.

Merrill Lynch strategist Steve Milunovich removed Nortel from his Techfolio list of top 10 names, replacing it with Extreme Networks Inc. , while Merrill Lynch analyst Tom Astle downgraded the company to a short-term accumulate from a short-term buy.

Credit Suisse First Boston downgraded the stock to a "buy" from a strong buy rating and cut its stock target to $40 from $80. Lehman Brothers cut its price target to $26 from $50.

Nortel's warning also dented shares in such key suppliers as JDS, the world's largest supplier of components that boost the speed and capacity of optical networks.

Nortel accounts for at least 10 percent of JDS revenues and represents a major customer of Corning Inc., a component supplier and the world's leading vendor of fiber-optic cable.

"We think this news is likely to weigh on the shares of both JDS and Corning over the near term," said Tim Anderson, optical analyst at Salomon Smith Barney, who cut his Corning stock target to $55 from $90. "The Nortel pre-announcement does raise the risk profile."

Shares in JDS slipped more than 20 percent to $35-1/2 on Nasdaq and C$57.50 on Toronto, while Corning declined 23 percent to $32.40. Cisco shed nearly 9 percent and Lucent tumbled 6.5 percent.

WR Hambrecht & Co. downgraded shares in ADC Telecommunications Inc. , which sells fiber-optic, networking equipment and software to carriers, to neutral from a buy on Friday. Analyst Tim Savageaux cited the weakness at Nortel and companies such as JDS and Cisco Systems, which have also trimmed estimates. ADC shares shed nearly 14 percent.

Saturday February 24, 7:57 AM

Motorola warns it could post first quarterly loss in 15 years

By Ben Klayman

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Mobile phone giant Motorola Inc. warned on Friday that a dramatic sales slowdown could lead to its first quarterly operating loss in 15 years, as its president became the latest top executive in the slumping technology sector to stoke fears of a recession.

"As far as we are concerned, we are in a recession at this point, and it's a recession of confidence," President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Growney told analysts on a conference call. He spoke less than a week after the head of networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. warned of a recession in much of the U.S. economy.

"We need some confidence measures to bring this market back," Growney added, "but the recessive part of everyone's thinking right now is bleeding over very, very quickly into Europe and also into Asia Pacific."

Motorola, the world's No. 2 wireless handset maker behind Finland's Nokia Corp., in a cost-cutting move will soon announce the sale or closure of four of its 55 plants and is weighing the same with three others, Growney said. He did not identify the plants or timing of the decisions.

The company's shares ended down $1.04, at $16.25 in New York on Friday. In pre-market trading, however, the stock had slid as low as $15.75 -- its lowest price since October 1998.

Motorola's news also hit rivals Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson , the No. 3 player in the wireless handset business. Their shares fell to new year lows.

Following on the heels of slowdown warnings on Thursday from network computer maker Sun Microsystems Inc. and data storage powerhouse EMC Corp. , Motorola's news drove U.S. stock markets lower.

Analysts and portfolio managers said Motorola's news was not surprising in light of the recent warnings by other telecom companies.

"It's a confirmation of our perception that this is going to be a long run back for Motorola," Jerome Castellini, president of Chicago fund company CastleArk Management, said.


Motorola, which employed 147,000 at the end of 2000, had already warned last month that its first-quarter results would suffer from a slowdown in its personal communications, or handset, and semiconductor businesses. Since the beginning of the year, the Schaumburg, Illinois, company has cut almost 7,000 jobs in various units.

In last month's warning, the company projected first-quarter sales of $8.8 billion would be flat with a year earlier, while profits would drop to 12 cents per share from 20 cents.

Now, however, it said it won't meet that lowered guidance, and if the slowdown persists, it expects to report an operating loss when it announces first-quarter results in early April.

The last time Motorola posted an operating loss was the third quarter of 1985, a spokesman said. It posted a net loss in second quarter 1998, but that included a $2 billion charge.

Tim Ghriskey, a portfolio manager with Dreyfus Fund, which has reduced its Motorola holdings, said investors will have to wait for a recovery in Motorola stock.

"It's hard to see the stock outperforming in the near term until we see some economic recovery."

Down more than 73 percent from its all-time high of $61.54 last March, Motorola stock has under-performed the Standard & Poor's 500 index by about 65 percent in the past year.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's responded by putting its "single-A" senior long-term and "A-1" short-term ratings for Motorola on review for a possible downgrade.


Motorola has been facing intensifying competition in its handset business from Nokia and Ericsson.

But Motorola executives insisted on the conference call following its profit warning that the shortfall resulted from the sharp economic slowdown in the United States and inventory corrections taking place broadly in technology markets worldwide -- not lost market share.

"We believe that this weakness is the result of current industry-wide conditions and not a loss in market share," Growney said in discussing the company's handset business.

Many European carriers, he added, are cutting spending to strengthen their balance sheets, including scaling back cell-phone subsidies that result in higher retail prices and lower consumer demand. He said Motorola sees global cell-phone sales possibly falling below 500 million this year, off from previous estimates of 525 million to 575 million.

In the semiconductor segment, Growney said, Motorola expects industry global business to be flat or down from last year, and the company's unit won't be profitable in the first quarter and possibly not for the year.

Even in businesses where Motorola sees growth for the year, Growney warned of softening demand in pockets or regions in reaction to fears of a U.S. economic slowdown.

Motorola said it would take additional cost reduction steps in the future.

Growney said Motorola will hold capital spending this year to significantly less than the $2.5 billion it had previously projected. Last year its capital outlays totalled $4 billion.

"We have fairly extreme volatility right now," Growney said. "When you look at the charts, some of the businesses are kind of in free-fall, when you look at rates of change."


Motorola's warning follows a spate of profit and sales warnings from major technology companies in recent days.

Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers told a Swedish business newspaper on Saturday that much of the U.S. economy is in recession and said the Federal Reserve should have cut interest rates last November instead of waiting until January.

On Thursday, Sun Microsystems and EMC cut sales and profit targets, citing the slowdown in capital spending by large corporations.

And last week, telecommunications equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. <>, the world's biggest supplier of fibre-optic telecom gear, said it will post a first-quarter loss and lowered its revenue growth expectations for the year.

Other high-tech powerhouses like Cisco, JDS Uniphase Corp. and Corning Inc. have recently ratcheted down expectations with slowdown warnings. And they won't be the last, said Walter Casey, co-manager of Bank One Investment Advisors' technology fund.

"The entire (telecom) area for awhile may be under a cloud," he said. "There are serious finance issues, serious issues of profitability in customer base and in the supplier base and I don't think that's a short term issue."