Breakfast briefing: Friday, November 27

Market wrap: Wall Street is closed for Thanksgiving holiday.
Forex summary

*The ringgit lost 0.27% to 4.2330 per US$

*It declined 0.25% to 4.4913 per euro

*Down 0.36% to 6.3919 to the pound sterling

*0.20% lower to 3.0041 per Singapore dollar

*0.23% lower to 3.0593 per Aussie

*Down 0.28% to 3.4539 per 100 yen


US crude oil futures fell more than one percent in early Asian trading on Friday, under pressure from concerns of a supply glut, although market activity was subdued due to a US holiday. Brent crude settled down 71 cents at US$45.46 a barrel in the previous session, having earlier dropped more than US$1 to a session low of US$45.00 a barrel. - Reuters

Top foreign stories

Barclays fined for lax crime checks in 'deal of century': Britain's financial watchdog has fined Barclays 72 million pounds (US$109 million) for cutting corners in vetting wealthy customers in order to win a huge transaction described by one senior manager as potentially the "deal of the century." - Reuters

Japan inflation continues slide, spending slumps: Japan's core consumer prices fell for the third straight month and household spending slumped in October, underscoring the fragile nature of the economy and keeping policymakers under pressure to take further steps to jump-start growth. The core consumer price index fell 0.1%in the  year to October, government data showed on Friday. - Reuters

LG Display to invest US$8.7b in new OLED plant: South Korea's LG Display said it will invest more than 10 trillion won (US$8.71 billion) to build a large plant to make panels using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels, raising its big bet on the ultra-clear display technology. - Reuters

Merck plans to sell its allergy business unit to cut debt: German drugs and chemicals maker Merck KGaA is planning to sell its allergy business, Allergopharma, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. The sale, which could fetch about 600 million euros ($636.42 million), is an attempt by the company to offload its debt after the Sigma Aldrich Corp takeover, the report said.

Top local stories

Sime outlines debt reduction plan: Sime Darby Bhd may monetise its assets or place out shares to targeted groups in efforts to pare down debt of RM19.7bil, which has risen as a result of the acquisition of Port Moresby-based New Britain Palm Oil Ltd. Its president and group chief executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh said other options included a rights issue. - StarBiz

OCK spreading wings: Telecommunications network services provider OCK Group Bhd is in the final stages of getting a contract from Telenor’s Myanmar unit to build and lease over 900 towers in the country. Sources told the contract would last for 12 years and all the towers under this phase were expected to be completed next year. Separately, for its first quarter, Sime posted 34.4% lower net profit of RM328.4mil for the first quarter on the back of revenue that increased marginally to RM10.17bil from RM10.12bil. - StarBiz

AirAsia posts Q3 net loss of RM405mil: AirAsia Bhd posted a net loss of RM405mil for the third quarter on higher foreign exchange losses as well as losses suffered by its Indonesian affiliate. Its operating profit rose 58% to RM316mil. Revenue was also 15% higher at RM1.51bil. - StarBiz

FGV sinks deeper into the red: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGV) net loss widened by 263.5% year-on- year o RM33.92mil in the third quarter despite achieving a 13.8% higher revenue of RM4.51bil. FGV attributed the weaker profit to lower crude palm oil (CPO) prices, higher fair value charges in the land lease agreement with parent company Felda and a higher foreign
exchange loss arising from the weakening ringgit. - StarBiz

IHH earnings down 19.3%: IHH Healthcare Bhd posted earnings of RM118.49mil for the third quarter ended, down 19.3% from a year earlier due to unrealised foreign exchange losses from its Turkish operations. - StarBiz

Maybank turns in quarterly earnings of RM1.9b: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) posted a strong set of earnings in the third quarter of RM1.898bil, up 18%. This is largely attributable to the growth in the group’s gross loans, advances and financing despite higher allowances for impairments. Revenue rose to RM11.38bil from RM8.93bil a year earlier. - StarBiz

Indonesia’s fund to be game changer for palm sector: The Indonesian Estate Crop Fund is set to be a game changer for the palm oil industry if Indonesia manages to achieve its biodiesel consumption targets, said CIMB Investment Bank analyst Ivy Ng. - StarBiz

TM Q3 net profit at RM167mil: Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s (TM) net profit came in 11% lower at RM166.87mil in the third quarter but its performance was much better than the second quarter. Group revenue was up 10.8% to RM2.922bil from RM2.63bil a year ago. Earnings per share were 4.44 sen. - StarBiz

Iris wins RM92.6mil job in Solomon Islands: Smartcard solutions provider Iris Corp Bhd has bagged a RM92.6mil contract for the set-up of an electronic passport and border control system from the Solomon Islands government. - StarBiz

Works minister: Toll hikes to become conditional: The new enhanced high-way concession agreements will see toll rate hikes become conditional instead of the current automatic rate increase mechanism.
Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof said that as a result of the enhancements, there could be “no toll rate increase and the prevailing toll rate shall remain.” - Edge FD

Genting’s 3Q net profit up 2.38%: Genting Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter climbed 2.38% to RM361.09 million. It attributed the better performance to the higher adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, which was contributed mainly by higher net foreign exchange (forex) gains aside from a reversal of RM186.4 million previously recognised impairment losses, mainly with respect to United Kingdom casino licences. Revenue for the quarter came in 3.56% higher at RM4.65 billion. - Edge FD

Utusan Q3 net loss widens, plans fundraising: Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd, which reported its third-quarter net loss widening by 45%, said it is exploring fundraising proposals to address the capital requirements to venture into other businesses. Utusan saw its net loss rise to RM8.29 million due to lower contribution from its publication, distribution and advertisement segments. Revenue for fell 18.4% to RM61.06 million. - Edge FD

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