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Hot stock: Venture Corp slides more than 4% to S$14.65

ELECTRONICS manufacturing services provider Venture Corporation's counter has shed 68 Singapore cents to S$14.65, its lowest level in the year to date.

The stock has fallen more than 50 per cent from its peak of S$29.51, which it touched in mid-April this year.

Venture's stock has been battered in recent months, in part due to a combination of the US-China trade war affecting semiconductor industries worldwide.

Venture, an electronics manufacturing services firm, is widely believed to be one of the makers of the IQOS, a smokeless tobacco device designed by Philip Morris. Although the IQOS does not fall under the category of e-cigarettes or vaping products as it uses a heat-not-burn technology, Philip Morris is waiting for approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) before it can start marketing the IQOS in the US.

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In a research note released on Monday, UOB Kay Hian said Philip Morris management remains "hopeful of hearing from the FDA by end-2018".

"Demand for IQOS remains strong, but it is clear that growth in its key market Japan is slowing," UOB Kay Hian wrote.

"Given the strong take-ups from Europe/Middle East & Africa, attention will likely shift to the take-up rates there. However, we expect growth to be slower as a whole compared to that in Japan. Overall, the environment is conducive for more device production, though it appears that growth rates do not support the case for two suppliers unless a US launch occurs," the broker said.

It is staying put on its "hold" recommendation with an unchanged target price of S$18.20.