Breakfast briefing: Wednesday, February 17 - Business News | The Star Online

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Breakfast briefing: Wednesday, February 17


Market wrap: Wall Street minted its second straight session of solid gains on Tuesday, as investors snatched up beaten-down consumer discretionary, industrial and tech shares. All 10 S&P sectors closed higher following an extended holiday weekend. Financials, healthcare and materials also posted gains of more than 1.5%. - Reuters

The DJIA rose 222.57 points, or 1.39%, to 16,196.41, the S&P 500 gained 30.8 points, or 1.65%, to 1,895.58 and the Nasdaq added 98.44 points, or 2.27%, to 4,435.96.

Forex summary

*The ringgit falls 1.39% to 4.1170 per US$

*It declines 0.94% to 4.6849 per euro

*Up 0.10% to 6.0204 to the pound sterling

*0.97% lower to 2.9482 per Singapore dollar

*0.54% lower to 2.9952 per Aussie

*Down 1.23% to 3.6860 per 100 yen

Energy

Brent oil fell almost 4% on Tuesday, erasing early gains after top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia dashed expectations of an outright supply cut by agreeing only to freeze output if other big exporters joined them. Brent settled down US$1.21 at US$32.18 a barrel, after rising earlier to US$35.55. - Reuters

Top foreign stories

Iran could decide fate of first global oil deal for 15 years: The fate of the first global oil deal in 15 years could be decided on Wednesday when Opec members travel to Iran to persuade the country to participate in a deal to freeze output levels, possibly by offering Tehran special terms. Dominant Opec power Saudi Arabia and non-Opec Russia agreed on Tuesday to freeze production levels but said the deal was contingent on others joining in - a major sticking point with Iran absent from the talks and determined to raise production. - Reuters

Top US hedge funds bet on Morgan Stanley: Top US hedge fund management firms, including Dan Loeb's Third Point LLC, took new positions in Morgan Stanley during the fourth quarter, ahead of the bank's cost-cutting measures and bond-management reshuffling. 

Fed to hike twice in 2016, undeterred by external risks: Poll: Growing concerns about weak global growth and inflation are unlikely to deter the US Federal Reserve from tightening policy, according to a Reuters poll that suggested two interest rate hikes are likely this year. The poll of over 80 analysts predicted another hike would come in the second quarter and penciled in one more towards the end of the year, which would leave rates between 0.75% and 1%. - Reuters

Fed's Kashkari suggests radical Wall St overhaul: In his first speech as head of the Minneapolis Fed, Neel Kashkari, a Goldman Sachs executive before he worked at the US Treasury, urged Congress to consider "bold, transformational" rules including the breaking up of the nation's largest banks to avoid bailouts. - Reuters

Top local stories

O&G stocks gain on hopes of higher oil prices: Investors in oil and gas stocks cheered the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia to freeze oil output, with the O&G counters making gains of between 0.97% and 9.09% on Tuesday. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KL Composite Index (FBM KLCI) gained 15.03 points to close at 1,664.99 points. - StarBiz

* Saudi Arabia and Russia agree to freeze oil output at January level. Qatar and Venezuela also agreed to participate. - Bloomberg

Proton pins hopes on new models: Proton Holdings Bhd is hoping that the launch of new models such as the Perdana will help it achieve sales of 150,000 units this year. Projected sales of 150,000 units for Proton means the company will have a market share of 20%. It will also be a jump of almost 47% compared to the sales last year when Proton sold 102,175 units and had a 15% market share. - StarBiz

PUC, Bioalpha terminate MoU: PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd and Bioalpha Holdings Bhd have mutually agreed to terminate a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a herb-planting venture, following a feasibility study that was conducted. - StarBiz

UEM Sunrise and Mulpha in RM5bil JV in Iskandar: UEM Sunrise Bhd and Mulpha International Bhd have entered into a joint venture to develop three parcels of land with a gross development value (GDV) of RM5bil near the Malaysia-Singapore second link in Iskandar Malaysia. The companies have an equal share in a JV company that will develop the multi-billion ringgit project for up to 20 years. - StarBiz

Hartalega net profit up on higher demand: Glove manufacturer Hartalega Holdings Bhd ’s net profit jumped 46.99% to RM72.79mil for the third quarter on a combination of a strengthening US dollar, expansion in capacity and an increase in demand. Its revenue increased 38.97% to RM398.02mil, while earnings per share ncreased to 4.44 sen from 3.2 sen.
Hartalega declared a second interim dividend of two sen per share. - StarBiz

TSR Capital plans RM230mil office tower blocks: TSR Capital Bhd plans to develop two office tower blocks with an estimated gross development value of RM230mil in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, on land bought from Habib Jewels managing director Datuk Seri Meer Sadik Habib and his wife. - StarBiz

Tanjung Offshore ex-MD claims trial: A former group adviser and managing director of oil-and-gas services provider Tanjung Offshore Bhd has claimed trial to charges of fraudulent inducement and money-laundering. Datuk Harzani Azmi, 49, was charged at a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday for the two offences allegedly committed between Oct 21 and Nov 27, 2013. - StarBiz

Singapore developer to launch 207-room hotel in KL:
Singapore-listed property developer Oxley Holdings Ltd will launch a 207-room hotel and a 590-key branded residence in Kuala Lumpur under the So Sofitel brand. The company said the developments will be named So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur and So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences. - StarBiz

Malaysia's Q4 growth forecast at 4.3%: Weak mining exports, slowing agriculture output and the ongoing slump in commodity prices will likely drag Malaysia’s fourth-quarter economic growth to its slowest in nearly three years. Annual growth was forecast at 4.3% for the October-December quarter, according to the median estimate in a Reuters poll, its slowest since the first quarter of 2013. - Reuters

Dialog reports lower Q2 profit: Oil and gas service firm Dialog Group Bhd ’s second-quarter net profit fell marginally to RM78mil on slower upstream activities and lower sales in specialist products and services. Its revenue increased slightly to RM639.6mil mainly due to contributions from ongoing projects. - StarBiz

Tasek Q4 profit falls to RM18.5mil: Tasek Corporation Bhd ’s net profit for the fourth quarter fell 33% to RM18.47mil from RM27.55mil a year ago due to lower earnings from its cement segment, due to intense price competition in the domestic market coupled with higher production cost. Revenue for the period rose 8.9% to RM188.4mil. - StarBiz

Palm oil futures lose ground for 2nd session: Malaysian palm oil futures lost ground on Tuesday, falling for a second session on slowing demand from top importers and the crude oil market facing headwinds. The palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange finished down RM11 ringgit, or 0.4%, at RM2,588 per tonne. - Ringgit

Lay Hong: Acquisition is at discount: Egg producer Lay Hong Bhd said the audited net asset value of Takaso SC (Thailand) Ltd, a dormant company that owns a factory and a parcel of land in Songkhla, southern Thailand, stood at RM8.23 million. Lay Hong said it is not paying a premium, adding that “we will be purchasing at a ‘discount’, in view that the vendors are selling at a loss”. Lay Hong is buying the stake from O&C Resources Bhd for RM8.5 million cash. - Edge FD

Asia Knight aborts plan to venture into construction: Plastic part manufacturer Asia Knight Bhd’s (A-Knight) regularisation plan which involves the proposed purchase of construction firm PA Builders Sdn Bhd (PABSB) has fallen through. A-Knight, a Practice Note 17 issuer since October 2014, told Bursa Malaysia that the company and PABSB vendors had mutually terminated the share sale agreement signed in October last year. - StarBiz

AGMs/EGMs

Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd

Time: 12pm

Venue: Wisma Taiko, No. 1, Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam, Ipoh, Perak

Batu Kawan Bhd

Time: 2.15pm

Venue: Wisma Taiko, No. 1, Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam, Ipoh, Perak

Axiata Group Bhd

Time: 3pm

Venue: Grand Ballroom, 1st Floor, Sime Darby Convention Centre, 1A Jalan Bukit Kiara 1, Kuala Lumpur

Axiata seeks shareholder nod for the purchase of Reynolds Holdings Ltd which in turn owns an 80% equity interest in NCell Pvt Ltd.

Results announcement

Axiata fourth quarter

Breakfast Briefing

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