Breakfast briefing: Wednesday, April 20


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 20 Apr 2016

MALAYSIA - The central bank on May 7 became the first in Southeast Asia to cut its key interest rate this year, by 25 basis points to 3.0%, moving to support its economy at a time of concern about global growth.

MarketWrap: The S&P 500 climbed closer to a record high on Tuesday, lifted by energy stocks and a solid quarterly report from Johnson & Johnson. After dipping into negative territory and then recovering, the S&P 500 ended less than 2% short of last May's record high close, with investors laser-focused on a growing flow of first-quarter earnings scorecards. - Reuters

DJIA rose 0.27% to 18,053.6 points, the S&P 500 gained 0.31% to 2,100.8 and the Nasdaq dropped 0.4% to 4,940.33.

Forex summary

*The ringgit rises 0.78% to 3.8555 per US$

*It rises 0.53% to 4.3806 per euro

*Up 0.26% to 5.5508 to the pound sterling

*0.43% up to 2.8776 per Singapore dollar

*0.47% higher to3.0065 per Aussie

*Up 0.57% to 3.5375 per 100 yen

Energy

Oil prices jumped more than 3% on Tuesday after a strike by workers in Kuwait nearly halved the Opec member's crude production, overshadowing bearish sentiment after Sunday's failure by producers to agree to freeze output levels. Brent crude futures settled up US$1.12 at US$44.03 a barrel while US crude settled US$1.30 higher at US$41.08. - Reuters

Top foreign news

Intel to cut 12,000 jobs as PC industry swoons: Intel Corp said on Tuesday it would cut 12,000 jobs globally, or 11% of its workforce, as it refocuses its business towards making microchips that power data centres and Internet connected devices and away from the declining personal computer industry it helped found. - Reuters

Yahoo barely beats Wall Street view: Yahoo Inc's first-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates by a hair as the web-pioneer struggled to boost growth in the core online search and display advertising business that is in the processing of auctioning off. Revenue fell 11.3% to US$1.09 billion in the first quarter ended March 31. On an adjusted basis, it earned 8 cents per share. - Reuters

Goldman posts weakest results in four years: Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported the worst quarterly results in more than four years on Tuesday as volatile markets kept clients from trading, investing or issuing new securities. Goldman's first-quarter revenues tumbled 40%, hit by sliding commodity prices, worries about the Chinese economy and uncertainty about US interest rates. Profit fell even more sharply, emphasising Goldman's reliance on the capital markets business, particularly bond trading which can be volatile. - Reuters

Thai tycoons jostle for deals in Vietnam: Through supermarkets, malls, dairy and beer, Thai tycoons are pursuing deals in Vietnam that could break mergers and acquisitions records in the upwardly mobile market of 90 million people, at the expense of their Asian rivals. - Reuters

Top local stories

Mueller quits MAS before his 3-year contract expires: Malaysia Airlines Bhd chief executive officer and managing director Christoph Mueller is leaving the carrier just 15 months after taking the helm. He will remain on the airline's board as non-executive director. Mueller said in an internal memo that his decision to leave MAS was due to “personal reasons that are beyond my control”. - StarBiz

Bank Negara: No reason to ease lending restrictions: With the overall rate of housing loan rejection rate down from about 30% in 2014 to about 20% in 2015, there is no reason to ease lending restrictions as called for by developers, according to Bank Negara sources. Housing loans are, in fact, “robust and growing at double digits”, a source said. - StarBiz

Prasarana to develop projects worth RM4bil: Prasarana Malaysia Bhd plans to develop seven property projects in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor with a gross development value of RM4bil in the next four years. Chairman Tan Sri Ismail Adam said this was in line with the company’s aim to increase non-fare revenue contribution to 50% by 2020. - Bernama

Fewer property launches seen in 2016: The number of new property launches fell to 70,273 units last year, down 19.2% against 2014 (88,997 units),  the National Property Information Centre’s (Napic) 2015 Property Market Report shows. The scenario is likely to be the same this year owing to the softening market and bleak household sentiment. - StarBiz

* Commercial property transactions were down both in value and volume last year versus 2014.

Syarikat Takaful Q1 profit almost flat: Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd’s first-quarter net profit rose 0.29% to RM46.62mil on a 12.58% jump in revenue to RM633.25mil. The almost flattish earnings was mainly attributable to a lower tax expense, which was partially offset by a lower net investment income, the company said. - StarBiz

1MDB expects bondholders to be paid amid dispute: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which is facing the risk of a bond default, said it expects an interest payment to be made as it enters the start of a five-day grace period. 1MDB has a cash surplus of about US$550mil (RM2.12bil), or 11 times the US$50mil (RM192.5mil) due on interest that was payable on April 18, president Arul Kanda said in a Bloomberg Television Malaysia interview. - Bloomberg

HLIB earnings up 27% to RM58mil in third quarter: HONG LEONG INDUSTRIES BHD (HLIB)'s third-quarter net profit increased 27.4% to RM58.65mil thanks to higher profit contribution from an associated company. Its revenue rose 0.72% to RM555.03mil. Earnings per share increased to 19.02 sen from 14.93 sen previously. - StarBiz

Crest Builder confident of higher profit this year: Construction and property outfit CREST BUILDER HOLDINGS BHD is confident of achieving higher profit this year, boosted by sales from its Shah Alam and Batu Tiga property developments. Managing director Eric Yong said the company has secured an external orderbook worth RM400mil and has tendered for another RM4.5bil jobs. - StarBiz

MISC eyes distressed FPSO assets: MISC BHD is looking to acquire distressed floating, production, stor- age and off-loading (FPSO) assets as the shipping company is now on stronger financial footing. - StarBiz

Pecca makes strong debut on Bursa: Car leather upholstery maker PECCA GROUP BHD made a strong debut on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia, with its shares closing 29 sen or 20.42% higher at RM1.71, above its IPO price of RM1.42. - StarBiz

Cycle & Carriage Bintang Q1 profit jumps 43%: CYCLE & CARRIAGE BINTANG BHD posted a 43% increase in net profit to RM9.5mil for its first quarter on due to higher sales at its Mercedes-Benz unit. Its revenue also improved 19% to RM315.14mil. - StarBiz

McDermott of US to relocate to Malaysia by June: The relocation of Houston, US-based McDermott International from Singapore to Malaysia is expected to be completed by June.
Its vice-president and general manager for Asia-Pacific, Hugh Cuthbertson, said the transition was under way and it had started recruiting in Kuala Lumpur two months ago. - Bernama

Foreign holdings in Malaysian bonds reach new highs in March: Foreign holdings in Malaysian bonds of RM226.6 billion in March broke November 2014’s record and rose 5.4% from February, on increased investment in government securities, said RAM Rating Services Bhd. - Edge FD

Mah Sing wins suit in RM359.5m land dispute: MAH SING GROUP BHD has succeeded in the High Court to strike out the claims by seven persons that the RM359.5 million sale and purchase agreement between Mah Sing’s wholly-owned unit and three land trustees is invalid. - Edge FD

CIMB’s independent and non-executive director Zainal Abidin retires: CIMB GROUP HOLDINGS BHD’s independent and non-executive director Datuk Zain- al Abidin Putih, 70, has retired, effective on Monday. He was also the group’s audit committee chairman. - Edge FD

ILB to sell HK warehousing units for RM68.7m: Integrated Logistics Bhd (ILB) is selling two of its Hong Kong-based warehousing outfits for HK$137.3 million (RM68.74 million), in line with its aim to divest most of its remaining business operations in China. - Edge FD

AGMs/EGMs

Petronas Dagangan Bhd

Time: 10am

Venue: Sapphire Ballroom, Mandarin Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Maxis Bhd

Time: 10am (AGM)/11.30am (EGM)

Venue: Grand Ballroom, 1st Floor, Sime Darby Convention Centre, 1A Jalan Bukit Kiara 1, Kuala Lumpur

Guinness Anchor Bhd

Time: 10am

Venue: Grand Ballroom, Connexion @ Nexus, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South City, Kuala Lumpur

* Guinness Anchor Bhd seeks shareholder approval to change the company's name to HEINEKEN MALAYSIA BHD.

WONG ENGINEERING CORPORATION Bhd

Time: 11am

Venue: Cardamom, Level 2, The Light Hotel, Lebuh Tenggiri 2, Bandar Seberang Jaya, Penang

Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd

Time: 10am

Venue: Ballrooms 1 & 2, Main Wing, Tropicana Golf & Country Resort Club, Jalan Kelab Tropicana, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Tatt Giap Group Bhd

Time: 11am

Venue: No. 1564, MK12, Jalan Nafiri, Valdor Industrial Estate, Sungai Jawi, Penang

* Tatt Giap seeks shareholder approval for the disposal of two adjoining pieces of leasehold industrial land together with a 3-1/2 storey factory building in Seberang Prai Tengah, Penang, for RM41 million.


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