Breakfast briefing: Monday, July 27

MarketWatch: Google Inc's strong quarterly results, which unleashed a massive surge in its shares on Friday, has investors feeling upbeat heading into next week's tech-heavy slate of earnings reports. Among the numerous tech companies releasing earnings next week are International Business Machines, Microsoft Corp and Apple, all of which are expected to show growth. Wall Street analysts expect earnings of the S&P technology sector to grow by 2.7% for the second quarter. - Reuters

Top foreign news

McGraw Hill near US$2bil deal for SNL Financial: McGraw Hill Financial Inc is nearing a deal to pay more than US$2bil for SNL Financial LC, a financial data and information company owned by private equity firm New Mountain Capital LLC, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday. The deal would boost New York-based McGraw Hill's data and information offerings for its main base of clients, financial services companies - Reuters

Fed unlikely to hike interest rate until September: A meeting of the US Federal Reserve and the first estimate of US second-quarter growth are likely to be this week’s economic centrepieces with markets able for the first time in months to look beyond Greece’s debt struggle. The Fed’s rate-setting Open Market Committee meets tomorrow and Wednesday. Economists do not expect a rate rise until September when the central bank plans a news conference, unlike July when only a statement is planned. - Reuters

Next IMF boss likely to come from outside Europe, says deputy MD: The next managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to come from outside Europe when current leader Christine Lagarde eventually leaves, the deputy head of the Washington-based fund said. IMF first deputy managing director David Lipton told the BBC World Service on Saturday that the tradition by which a European heading the fund while an American leading the World Bank was coming under pressure and the next appointment would be “strictly merit-based”. - Reuters

Tokyo office rents crawl to four-year high: Tokyo office rents have climbed to their highest since April 2011 as the economy gathers steam and demand for office space increases. But property analysts say the growth in rents is small and will be capped by imminent launches of new office towers. Average rent for prime office space in Tokyo rose 4.8% to 17,401 yen (US$139) per tsubo, or 3.3 square meters, in June from 16,607 yen a year earlier, according to broker Miki Shoji. - Reuters

Pearson may sell 50% stake in The Economist: Britain’s Pearson is in talks to sell its 50% stake in The Economist to the other shareholders of the weekly newspaper, with one, Italy’s Agnelli family, confirming it wants to increase its stake. The move comes on the heels of Pearson’s sale of the Financial Times newspaper to Japanese media group Nikkei, announced last week as its focuses on its education business. - Reuters

Temasek's CEO extends leave to October: Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings said chief executive Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has decided to extend her three-month sabbatical until October. Temasek did not give a reason for the decision by Ho, which comes amid media speculation that elections could take place in the city-state this year. Ho, 62, took leave in mid-April after the death of her father-in-law, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister. - Reuters

Top local stories

Hexza gains traction: Hexza Corp Bhd , a manufacturer of synthetic resins and chemical products has slowly been gaining ground, thanks to measures undertaken since February this year to strengthen its earnings portfolio. Ipoh-based Hexza, which has been quiet and low-profile for the longest time, has made two announcements that could yield the smallish company over RM40mil in total. - StarBiz

BASF Petronas Chemicals may invest billions in 2 plants: Billions of ringgit could very well be spent for two new plants over the next few years in the Gebeng Industrial Zone near Kuantan for better-performing oil and fuel in anticipation of tighter regulatory standards for industry and the environment. - StarBiz

Petroleum refineries bucking oil downtrend: Petroleum refineries are finding themselves in a sweet spot given that their raw material, crude oil, continues to trade in a bearish market. The share prices of refineries have done well due to their position in the supply chain. For one, growing economies have fuelled demand. - StarBiz

MGS yields seen rising: Foreign investors’ appetite for Malaysian Government bonds may be somewhat dampened in the coming months with the risk of a US rate hike more apparent now.  CIMB analysts expect the US rate hike to have an impact on their appetite for Malaysian sovereign papers. Foreigners held nearly a third or RM176.6bil of all Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) and Government Investment Issues (GII - government bonds issued under syariah requirements) as of June, up from 29.2% in December. - StarBiz

Fairchild Semiconductor to sell Penang factory: Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc, known as National Semiconductor when it first came to Malaysia in 1972, is selling its manufacturing facility in the Free Industrial Zone, Bayan Lepas as part of its worldwide realignment exercise. About 1,000 people will lose their jobs. The plant is expected to close by the end of the year. - StarBiz

Adex growth flat in first half: Year-on-year advertising expenditure (adex) in the first half of 2015 was flat, as advertisers were conservative with their spending due to uncertainties both locally and on the global front. According to Nielsen data, year-to-date June 2015 adex stood at RM6.84bil, compared with RM6.82bil in the previous corresponding period. - Reuters

Events calendar

The US Commerce Department releases data for non-defense capital goods orders, excluding aircraft. A closely watched proxy for business spending plans is expected to have risen 0.4% in June.


Kim Loong Resources Bhd

Time: 11am

Venue: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Menara Landmark, 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, JB

Crescendo Corporation Bhd

Time: 2.30pm

Venue: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Menara Landmark, 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, JB

Breakfast Briefing