Breakfast briefing: Thursday, March 30 (update) - Business News | The Star Online


Breakfast briefing: Thursday, March 30 (update)

MarketWatch: The benchmark S&P 500 eked out a gain on Wednesday as strength in the energy and consumer sectors offset declines in financial shares and investors began looking ahead to first-quarter earnings season. The DJIA fell 42.18 points, or 0.2%, to 20,659.32, the S&P 500 gained 2.56 points, or 0.11%, to 2,361.13 and the Nasdaq added 22.41 points, or 0.38%, to 5,897.55. - Reuters

* Wall Street has tempered its expectations for sweeping US tax cuts in the wake of President Donald Trump's stinging healthcare defeat, a move that could push investors to embrace cheaper global stocks after the heady US rally of recent months. - Reuters


Oil prices rose on Wednesday after US gasoline stockpiles dropped sharply last week, while crude inventories grew less than anticipated. Brent LCOc1 traded at US$52.42, up 2.1% on the day. - Reuters

Forex summary

*The ringgit gains 0.01% to 4.4193 per US$

*It rose 0.35% to 4.7513 versus euro

*Up 0.04% to 5.4984 per pound sterling

*Up 0.08% to 3.1656 per Singapore dollar

*0.09% lower to 3.3895 per Aussie

*0.35% higher at 3.9772 per 100 yen

Top foreign stories

EU vetos Deutsche Boerse-LSE merger deal: An attempted merger between the German and British stock exchanges was struck down by European regulators on Wednesday, formally ending a deal that unraveled in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union. "We could not approve this merger on the terms... proposed," said European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, blocking the 29-billion-euro (US$31 billion) deal to combine Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange. - StarBiz

Samsung launches Galaxy S8 and dreams of recovery from Note 7: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled its Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone as it battles to regain the market leadership it lost to Apple Inc after the embarrassing withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7s. - Reuters

Banks to London staff: no panic as Britain launches EU divorce process: Banks in Britain have tried to reassure their London staff over possible Brexit disruption, including a shift in jobs to continental Europe, as Prime Minister Theresa May triggered formal EU divorce proceedings on Wednesday.
Investment banks Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Nomura were among those who sent messages to employees in London, as they work out how to keep serving clients across the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc. - Reuters

ConocoPhillips sells oil and gas assets to Cenovus for US$13.3b: ConocoPhillips on Wednesday agreed to sell oil sands and western Canadian natural gas assets to Cenovus Energy Inc for C$17.7 billion (US$13.3 billion), making it the latest international oil major to pull back from a region where high costs and low crude prices have made it hard for large companies to make an acceptable return. - Reuters

Top local stories

Institutions poised to invest RM4b in equities market: Local institutional funds that have been net sellers on Bursa Malaysia in the last few weeks, as foreign investors took centrestage, are expected to come back strongly. Sources say local institutional funds are expected to invest RM4bil in the equities market in the next few weeks. - StarBiz

Foreign funds invest RM4.7b in Bursa Malaysia: Foreign investors have pumped some RM4.7bil into Bursa Malaysia year to date, said Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan. Active trading had taken place in the first three months of the year and the momentum is not expected to subside any time soon, he said. - StarBiz

More light on Halex takeover offer: Halex Holdings Bhd ’s listing status on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia will maintained, say the parties who have made a mandatory takeover offer for the company at 64 sen per share. - StarBiz

Ringgit trading slumps 70% offshore after central bank curbs: Offshore trading in ringgit non-deliverable forwards (NDFs) has dropped by about 70% since policymakers took steps in November to deter foreign banks from trading the contracts, according to EBS BrokerTec’s electronic-trading platform. Now, officials are looking at easing rules on the short-selling of government debt after the crackdown saw global funds withdraw more than RM35bil out of Malaysian sovereign bonds in the four months through February. - Bloomberg

Bintai Kinden bags RM45m contract: Mechanical and electrical engineering services provider Bintai Kinden Corp Bhd has secured a S$14.2mil (RM44.94mil) contract for sub-contract works to the existing Raffles Hotel and Shopping Arcade in Singapore. - StarBiz

Three charged with insider trading: The Securities Commission has charged former senior managers in the corporate finance department of CIMB Investment Bank Bhd, Ewe Lay Peng and Lim Bun Hwa, as well as Lim Boon Cheng, with insider trading of PacificMas Bhd shares. - StarBiz

Mah Sing on track to hit sales target: Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd is on track to hit at least RM1.8bil in sales this year, as the company had initially forecast. The company will launch between six and seven ongoing projects this year. - StarBiz

FMM: Defer and review Employment Insurance Scheme: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is urging the Government to defer and review the implementation of the Employment Insurance Scheme as it would be an added tax burden to employers and employees. FMM president Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai said the 0.5% contribution rate would be too high to commensurate with the small number of retrenchments. - StarBiz

Astro results within forecast: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s latest financial results were largely within analysts’ expectations, with research houses reckoning the pay-TV operator will see stronger earnings growth in financial year ending Jan 31, 2018. - StarBiz

Hai-O posts higher profit and revenue: Hai-O Enterprise Bhd ’s revenue for the third quarter rose 33% to RM107.18mil while net profit came in 57% higher at RM15.36mil. - StarBiz

Bernas eyes relisting in 2020: Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), the country’s sole rice importer that was taken private by businessman Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, is offering RM4 per share to minority shareholders who did not take up the takeover offer in 2014. Last week, Bernas got shareholders’ nod for selected capital reduction and repayment will pave the way for Bernas’ relisting, possibly in 2020. - Edge FD

KFM plans private placement, rights issue: Kuantan Flour Mills Bhd (KFM) is proposing a private placement and a five-for-two rights issue to raise money for debt repayment and working capital. The 20.46 million placement shares and up to 221.74 million rights shares will be issued at 20 sen per share. The placement is expected to raise RM4.09 million in gross proceeds. - Edge FD

Kim Loong Q4 earnings up 36%: Kim Loong Resources Bhd posted a 36% rise in net profit o RM16.76 million for the fourth quarter, on improved contribution from its plantation operations, driven by better fresh fruit bunches prices, despite marginally lower production. Revenue jumped 49% to RM255.99 million. The group declared a final single-tier dividend of eight sen per share. - Edge FD

Bison upbeat on prospects: Bison Consolidated Bhd remains bullish on its prospects, saying its convenience stores are not very much affected by the current inflationary pressure and lower consumer demand. The group now operates 328 retail outlets nationwide and is targeting to increase the number to 400 by the year-end. - Edge FD

Breakfast Briefing