Breakfast briefing: Friday, July 31

  • Business
  • Friday, 31 Jul 2015

Market wrap: Wall Street ended flat on Thursday as investors digested ho-hum corporate earnings and new data showed that the economy grew more quickly in the second quarter. - Reuters

The DJIA ended 0.03% weaker at 17,745.98, while the S&P 500 was unchanged at 2,108.63. The Nasdaq added 0.33% to 5,128.79.

Forex summary

*The local currency rose 0.07% to 3.8165 per US$

*It increased 0.27% to 4.1778 per euro

*Up 0.13% to 5.9554 to the pound sterling

*0.16% higher to 2.7787 per Singapore dollar

*0.18% higher to 2.7850 per Aussie

*Up 0.08% to 3.0788 per 100 yen


Oil prices weakened heading into US crude's settlement Thursday after a larger-than-expected drawdown in US crude stockpiles was balanced by a stronger dollar and position squaring ahead of the expiry of the front-month contracts in gasoline and diesel. Benchmark Brent crude oil was down 15 cents a barrel at US$53.20, after settling 8 cents higher in the previous session.  _ Reuters

Top foreign news

Pacific trade negotiators chase elusive final deal amid tough talks: Pacific Rim trade ministers neared the final spurt of negotiations on an ambitious free trade pact on Thursday, but differences over farm exports and monopoly periods for next-generation drugs were preventing them from reaching an elusive final deal. - Reuters

Japan June inflation stalls: Japan's annual core consumer inflation stalled and household spending unexpectedly fell in June, underscoring the challenges the central bank faces in reflating the economy to meet its ambitious 2% price target. But the central bank is set to hold off on expanding monetary stimulus for now, as policymakers have repeatedly said they will look through the effect of last year's oil rout that is mainly behind the slowdown in inflation. - Reuters

Shell to axe 6,500 jobs, cut spending: Royal Dutch Shell is to axe 6,500 jobs this year and step up spending cuts, responding to an extended period of lower oil prices which contributed to a 37% drop in the oil and gas group's second-quarter profit. The Anglo-Dutch company is also increasing asset disposals to US$50bil between 2014 and 2018 as it pushes ahead with its proposed US$70bil acquisition of BG Group. - Reuters

Top local stories

Stemming the decline: As the downward pressure on the ringgit mounts, Bank Negara has adopted gentle suasion methods to stem the decline. Senior executives of the central bank have had briefings with foreign exchange (forex) dealers from local and foreign financial institutions this week discouraging them from entering into transactions that result in selling the ringgit. - StarBiz

TNB Q3 profit down: Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) net profit dropped 51.48% to RM789.4mil on the back of a 13.9%fall in revenue to RM9.91bil for the third quarter, mainly due to the recognition of the imbalance cost pass-through of RM1.82bil for the period from January 2014 to May 2015. Earnings per share dropped to 13.99 sen from 28.83 sen. - StarBiz

MAHB net loss narrows: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) reported a smaller net loss of RM19.88mil for the second quarter ended June 30, in line with analysts’ expectations. Its revenue for the quarter slipped 20% to RM939.96mil. - StarBiz

Lloyd’s to apply for Malaysia onshore licence: Specialist insurer Lloyd’s intends to apply for an onshore reinsurance licence in Malaysia. Lloyd’s said the licence would enable it to increase the support it could offer in Malaysia. - StarBiz

KAF Investment Bank makes takeover move: KAF Investment Bank Bhd has proposed a takeover of KAF-Seagroatt & Campbell Bhd or RM248.64mil, or RM2.70 per share, by acquiring 92.09 million shares or 76.74% of the company from vendors. - StarBiz

Public Bank posts high profit: Public Bank Bhd’s net profit was up 13.29% to RM1.2bil on the back of a 16.72% jump in revenue to RM4.74bil for its second quarter to June 30. The better earnings were mainly due to a healthy growth in loans and deposits, and stable asset quality. Gains arising from foreign exchange fluctuations in respect to the group’s foreign operations had also partially contributed to the profit growth for the period. - StarBiz

Unisem earnings rise: Chipmaker Unisem (M) Bhd’s net profit surged 190% to RM31.38mil for the second quarter versus a year ago on a change in product mix, improved utilisation rates and lower interest expense. Its revenue rose 18.7% to RM298.79mil. The company declared a three-sen dividend. - StarBiz

Cost savings exercise puts new MAS on firm footing: An initial cost savings of at least RM180mil from catering contracts plus a few hundred million more from lesser payroll expenses due to a leaner workforce for the next three years will put the new Malaysia Airlines (MAS) on a firm footing as it climbs its way to profitability in 2018 as targeted, according to an academician. - StarBiz

Khazanah setting up London office: Khazanah Nasional Bhd is setting up an office in London this quarter to expand the sovereign wealth fund’s exposure to the developed market. - StarBiz


Pansar Bhd (fka PWE Industries Bhd)

Time: 9am

Venue: Tanahmas Hotel, Jalan Kampung Nyabor, Sibu, Sarawak

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