Breakfast briefing: Thursday, December 22

  • Business
  • Thursday, 22 Dec 2016

Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

MarketWrap: Stocks edged down and the dollar eased from a 14-year high on Wednesday, giving back some of the gains chalked up since Donald Trump's US election victory as investors took profits on the rally in risk assets over the past six weeks. - Reuters

The DJIA closed 32.66 points, or 0.16%, lower at 19,941.96, the S&P 500 lost 5.58 points, or 0.25%, to 2,265.18 and the Nasdaq dropped 12.51 points, or 0.23%, to 5,471.43.

Forex summary

*The ringgit lost 0.02% at 4.4802 per US$

*It was 0.36% lower at 4.6759 per euro

*Down 0.37% to 5.5455 per pound sterling

*Down 0.01% to 3.1010 per Singapore dollar

*0.05% lower to 3.2474 per Aussie

*0.06% higher at 3.8084 per 100 yen

Oil futures fell on Wednesday after Libya said it expects to boost production over the next few months and a report showing a surprise build in US crude inventories last week. Brent futures for February delivery fell 89 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at US$54.46 a barrel. - Reuters

Top foreign stories

Nokia sues Apple for infringing patents, industry back on war footing: Nokia Corp said on Wednesday it had filed a number of lawsuits against Apple Inc for violating 32 technology patents, striking back at the iPhone maker's legal action targeting the one-time cellphone industry leader a day earlier. Nokia's lawsuits cover patents for displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding. - Reuters

Japan plans record US$830b spending in FY2017/18, budget-balancing goal elusive: Japan's cabinet approved on Thursday a record US$830 billion spending budget for fiscal 2017 that counts on low interest rates and a weak yen to limit borrowing, underscoring the challenge Tokyo faces in curbing the industrial world's heaviest debt burden. - Reuters

Actelion re-enters talks with J&J, sidelining Sanofi: Swiss biotech company Actelion has turned back to prospective bidder Johnson & Johnson for exclusive talks about a "strategic transaction", in an about-turn that appears to sideline rival suitor Sanofi. - Reuters

Top local stories

Petronas to cut output by 3%: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) will voluntarily reduce its output by 20,000 barrels per day, or 3%, beginning next year in line with an initiative taken by members and non-members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to help improve prices. - StarBiz

MBSB gets green light for talks with AFB: MALAYSIA BUILDING SOCIETY BHD (MBSB) has been given the green light by Bank Negara to start negotiations on a proposed merger with Asian Finance Bank Bhd. AFB is one of three standalone Middle Eastern Islamic banks operating in Malaysia. - StarBiz

Trade growth likely to miss target this year: Malaysia is likely to miss its trade growth target this year because exports have not increased as fast as initially expected despite the weaker ringgit.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said trade expansion in 2016 would be “marginal” compared with the previous year because of global economic challenges. - StarBiz

Four firms get go-ahead to build solar power plants: Four more utility companies – Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), Malakoff Corp Bhd, MUDAJAYA GROUP BHD and Integrated Logistics Bhd – have been accepted by the Energy Commission to develop large-scale solar photovoltaic plants. - StarBiz

AmProp eyes Hong Kong property market: AMCORP PROPERTIES BHD (AmProp) is looking to venture into Hong Kong’s property market through a collaboration with Grosvenor Asia Pacific Ltd. Amcorp Orient Ltd and Grosvenor Asia will each contribute about HK$349mil (RM201mil) as capital to the equally-owned joint-venture company. - StarBiz

November inflation up 1.8% on higher food prices: Malaysia’s inflation rate rose faster than expected in November, advancing by 1.8% from a year ago due to higher food prices. The Consumer Price Index was higher than a Bloomberg survey of 1.3%. - StarBiz

Tanah Makmur to build RM415.5mil complex in Pahang: Tanah Makmur Bhd has accepted a  RM415.52mil contract for the proposed development of the new state administrative complex of the Pahang government. - StarBiz

Ex-BSI banker found guilty in case related to 1MDB scandal: Ex-BSI banker Yeo Jiawei was found guilty on all four charges of witness tampering in the money-laundering case involving billions of dollars alleged to be misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). - Singapore Straits Times/ANN

Price rise likely in 2017 on expiry of guidelines: Prices of some consumer products could likely rise next year although not too drastically upon the expiry of the price guidelines of the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 by the end of this month. - StarBiz

Ajinomoto accepts RM166mil compensation award for land: AJINOMOTO (M) BHD has accepted the compensation award of RM165.99mil in cash by the Kuala Lumpur land administrator, in respect of the compulsory acquisition of a 7.58-acre piece of land. - StarBiz

Bank Muamalat sees flat performance this year: Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd is expecting a flattish overall financial performance this year, similar to what was achieved in 2015, primarily due to the slowing economy. Chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid said Bank Muamalat’s loan growth has been about 5%-6% this year. - StarBiz

HSL shareholder launches legal action to remove directors:  A Hock Seng Lee Bhd (HSL) shareholder has launched legal action to remove four of the marine engineering and construction firm’s directors, including managing director Datuk Paul Yu Chee Hoe. - StarBiz

Tanjung Offshore unit wins RM100m job: Tanjung Offshore Bhd subsidiary Tanjung Offshore Services Sdn Bhd has secured a RM100mil contract from Repsol Oil & Gas Malaysia Ltd to supply manpower over a three-year period. - StarBiz

Chaos at Multi-Usage Holdings AGM: Chaos ensued at the AGM of Penang-based property developer Multi-Usage Holdings Bhd (MUH) on Wednesday, as minority shareholders decided to “take over” the chairing of the meeting, as they were dissatisfied with the way it was conducted, and had then proceeded to carry on with the AGM. The original meeting was conducted by the MUH board. - Edge FD

No loss to glove makers from FDA ban, says Margma: Malaysian rubber glove manufacturers say there is absolutely no loss to them from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on the use of powdered gloves in the healthcare sector. “It does not really matter to our industry as the quantum of exported latex powdered gloves to the US is negligible,” said Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) president Denis Low. - Edge FD

Mitrajaya bags RM159.39m job in Johor:  Mitrajaya Holdings Bhd has bagged an RM159.39 million contract to undertake superstructure works for an office tower development in Bandar Medini, Iskandar Malaysia, Johor. - Edge FD

Foreign participation in bond market to stay low for another quarter: RAM Rating Services Bhd expects less participation by foreign investors in the Malaysian bond market for at least another quarter, until the onshore foreign exchange (forex) forward market becomes more established. - Edge FD

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