Breakfast briefing: Monday, December 19 - Business News | The Star Online


Breakfast briefing: Monday, December 19

MarketWatch: Benchmark US stock index rallies, in anticipation of fiscal stimulus measures by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, could also be laying the seeds for equity market troubles from a stronger dollar and rising bond yields. The S&P 500 stock index has surged over 8% since the Nov 8 election, due in large part to sectors that are expected to benefit from an inflationary policy.  - Reuters

Top foreign stories

Etihad Airways says to trim its workforce to reduce costs: Etihad Airways said on Sunday it is cutting jobs in some parts of its business as a part of its restructuring. An Etihad Airways spokesman said a majority of those affected by the headcount reduction are through "natural attrition" and the vacancies will not be filled. He declined to comment on the number of jobs affected. - Reuters

Airbnb seeks to raise an additional US$153m: Airbnb Inc is looking to raise an additional US$153 million as an extension of a recent funding round, boosting its coffers as the company pushes forward with global expansion. - Reuters

Vanke calls off deal to acquire Shenzhen Metro property unit: China Vanke Co Ltd, the mainland's biggest property company by sales, said on Sunday it was terminating a key agreement to acquire a property development arm of Shenzhen Metro Group after it failed to get the approval of some of its major shareholders. - Reuters

Top local stories

RM16b Pan Borneo Highway jobs awarded: Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd has awarded all the 11 work packages under phase one of the Pan Borneo Highway project on Sarawak’s side for a total RM16.49bil. Eleven listed companies from Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia were among 20 firms that secured the contracts. - StarBiz

Brewers may gain from excise duty hike: The 150% excise duty hike on locally produced hard liquor effective Dec 15 could possibly lift the performance of brewers producing beer and stout, particularly Heikenen Malaysia Bhd and Carlberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd. - StarBiz

Teo Guan Lee to spend RM30mil to expand range: Teo Guan Lee Bhd will spend about RM30mil to expand its range of stocks next year. The company aims to improve the baby apparel stocks to tap that market, which group managing director Toh Kian Beng says is a growing segment. - StarBiz

Kuala Lumpur Finance Index rebounds: After lagging behind the equity market for the last three years, the Kuala Lumpur Finance Index has staged a rebound, a reflection of investor confidence in the capabilities of banks in managing their asset quality, coupled with attractive valuations in some banking stocks. - StarBiz

Leader Steel sees improved revenue, profit: Leader Steel Holdings Bhd expects its revenue and profit for financial year 2016 to improve by double digits over 2015 due to higher steel prices and stronger demand from the construction, renovation and furniture industries. - StarBiz

Value of construction jobs down slightly: The value of construction jobs awarded over the past nine months declined slightly to RM97.29bil from RM98.36bil a year earlier. Going forward, Penang Master Builders and Building Materials Dealers’ Association immediate past president Datuk Lim Kai Seng said the association is optimistic its forecast of RM200bil jobs could still be achieved. - StarBiz

SCGM banks on resilient demand for its products: Amid a challenging local and global economic landscape, thermos-vacuum form plastic packaging manufacturer SCGM Bhd sees itself as a defensive business as demand for its products stay resilient. For now, the company will temporarily rent a factory to increase production to 36 million kg per year before its second factory is completed by December 2018. - Edge FD

Local fund eyes stake in Palette Multimedia: Palette Multimedia Bhd has received a takeover offer from a local investment fund to acquire a controlling 51% stake in the loss-making information technology company, sources say. The fund, which is linked to a local life sciences company, is ready to make an offer of nine sen per share, which values Palette at RM28.76 million, they said. - Edge FD

Yee Lee eyes opportunities after oil subsidy removal: The removal of subsidies for palm-based cooking oil is seen as a catalyst for Yee Lee Corp Bhd , as the move also removes production quota on existing manufacturers, while giving rise to “more reasonable profit margin”. - Edge FD

Improved economy, sentiment to boost 2017 vehicle sales: Malaysia’s vehicle sales are expected to pick up next year, driven by better economic stability and consumer sentiment, says iCar Asia Ltd group chief executive officer Hamish Stone. - Edge FD

Breakfast Briefing