Breakfast briefing: Tuesday, January 24 (update)

Valued partner: MAS said it had entered into a codeshare partnership with Emirates, giving MAS passengers access to 90 locations in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, served from Emirates

MarketWrap: US stocks edged lower on Monday as early moves by President Donald Trump highlighting a protectionist stance on trade gave investors cause to rethink the post-election rally. - Reuters

The DJIA fell 27.4 points, or 0.14%, to 19,799.85, the S&P 500 lost 6.11 points, or 0.27%, to 2,265.2 and the Nasdaq dropped 2.39 points, or 0.04%, to 5,552.94.


Oil prices fell 1% on Monday as signs of a strong recovery in US drilling largely overshadowed news that Opec and non-Opec producers were on track to meet output reduction goals. Brent crude LCOc1 settled down 26 cents, or 0.5%, at US$55.23 a barrel. - Reuters

Forex summary

*The ringgit gained 0.11% to 4.4350 per US$

*It was 0.11% lower at 4.7670 per euro

*Down 0.64% to 5.5517 per pound sterling

*Down 0.01% to 3.1264 per Singapore dollar

*0.37% lower to 3.3643 per Aussie

*0.43% higher at 3.9223 per 100 yen

Top foreign stories

Emirates begins ‘modest restructuring’: Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, said on Monday it was in the process of only a “modest restructuring”, two months after it reported a 75% decline in half-year profits due to slower growth and increased competition. - Reuters

Singapore Dec CPI up for first time in 2 years: Singapore’s annual headline consumer price index (CPI) in December rose for the first time in more than two years, but weak consumption and a subdued labour market suggest that inflation will remain modest for some time. The all-items CPI in December rose 0.2% from a year earlier, official data showed. - Reuters

Yahoo beats Wall Street view, sees Verizon deal closing in second quarter: Yahoo Inc on Monday reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, and said the sale of its core internet business to Verizon Communications Inc should be completed in the second quarter, allaying some investor concerns that the deal might collapse. Net income attributable to Yahoo was US$162 million while revenuee rose revenue rose 15.4% to US$1.47 billion. - Reuters

McDonald's US restaurant sales fall after five quarters of gains: McDonald's Corp's sales at established US restaurants fell for the first time in six quarters as the novelty of all-day breakfast failed to overcome competition from supermarkets and other food sellers. Sales at US McDonald's restaurants open at least 13 months fell 1.3% in the fourth quarter. - Reuters

US blocks health insurer Aetna's US$34b Humana acquisition: A US judge blocked on Monday health insurer Aetna Inc's proposed US$34 billion acquisition of smaller peer Humana Inc, raising the stakes for rival Anthem Inc as it battles to close a US$54 billion deal to buy Cigna Corp. - Reuters

LG Display reports record fourth-quarter profits: South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd said on Tuesday it reported a record fourth-quarter operating profit of 904.3 billion won (US$778.33 million) due to a pickup in panel prices. - Reuters

Samsung Elec fourth-quarter profit jumps as record chip earnings mask Note 7 failure: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Tuesday said fourth-quarter operating profit jumped 50% to its highest in over three years, as record earnings in its chips business masked the negative impact of its failed Note 7 phones. Samsung also said it plans to buy back 9.3 trillion won worth of shares this year. - Reuters

Top local stories

Eco World partners EPF for third time: Eco World Development Group Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which are teaming up for the third time, are undertaking maiden township developments in Penang. Under the joint venture, they will be building two townships in Batu Kawan, Penang, with a combined gross development value of RM7.76bil. - StarBiz

Master franchisee to rebrand Chatime: Popular tea drink Chatime will be rebranded soon after its Taiwanese franchisor ended the partnership prematurely. Chatime master franchisee for Malaysia, Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, said  it was n the process of creating its own brand for its 165 outlets after the termination of its franchise by La Kaffa International Co Ltd. - StarBiz

CIMB negative on UMW-OG proposals: CIMB Equities Research is “negative” on UMW Oil and Gas’s (UMW-OG) plan to buy an offshore service vessel player and a product tanker operator as well as issue rights to recapitalise and to fund the purchases. - StarBiz

TMC Life aims for higher income from medical tourism: Healthcare provider, TMC Life Sciences Bhd, aims to increase its income from medical tourism to 25% by 2020 from 10%. Group chief executive officer Roy Quek, however, said, the company would still depend on its hospital project in Iskandariah, Johor Baru, and the expansion of the Kota Damansara Tropicana Medical Centre, to add on capacity. - StarBiz

Yinson in talks for Talisman job: Yinson Holdings Bhd has entered into exclusive negotiations with Talisman Energy Inc for the supply of a floating production, storage and offloading facility for the latter’s development field in eastern offshore Vietnam. - StarBiz

Rising earnings seen for Gabungan AQRS: Gabungan AQRS Bhd is expected to see rising earn- ings over the next three years due to accretion from its expanding orderbook of RM1.8bil, says MIDF Research. - StarBiz

Ni Hsin aims to enter China with Pentoli cookware: Ni Hsin Resources Bhd is eyeing to enter the China market with its in-house cookware brand, Pentoli, in a bid to broaden its revenue source.
Managing director Chen Shien Yee said Ni Hsin would be able to grow its topline by more than 10% this year. - StarBiz

Fresh demerger talk push up Sime Darby shares: Shares in Sime Darby Bhd jumped to their highest since May 2015 on fresh talks about potential demerger involving its key business units. News reports suggested Sime Darby’s controlling shareholder Permodalan Nasional Bhd is revisiting proposals to break up the company. - StarBiz

Digi postpaid base rises at fastest pace in two years: Bhd said its postpaid subscribers base in the last quarter of 2016 grew at its fastest pace in two years on strong demand for high speed mobile and digital services. It posted fourth-quarter earnings fell slightly by 2.02% year-on-year to RM374.63mil while revenue was also lower by 2.91% to RM1.67bil. - StarBiz

AirAsia: ‘We have no dealings with Rolls-Royce’: Refuting reports linking it to a Rolls-Royce plc bribery case, AirAsia Bhd says it has had no dealings or transactions with the United Kingdom engine maker. It further said the group had no knowledge of any matter mentioned in The Financial Times report. - StarBiz

Additional 10 to 15 Petronas stations in the pipeline this year: Petronas Dagangan Bhd is planning to set up an additional 10 to 15 petrol stations this year, across Malaysia. The location of the new stations have not been confirmed. - StarBiz

Strategic investors to take up new WCT shares: The placees for the recently proposed placement of new WCT Holdings Bhd shares are likely to be “strategic investors”, says AmInvestment Bank Bhd. - StarBiz

Aemulus to invest RM25m in R&D over next 3 years: Aemulus Holdings Bhd plans to invest RM25mil in research and development (R&D) over the next three years following the purchase of a piece of land in the Bayan Lepas industrial estate, Penang, for RM9.93mil. - StarBiz

Japan’s JX, Petronas start LNG train in Bintulu: JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp said its venture with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has started commercial operations at the ninth liquefaction train at the Petronas liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex in Bintulu, Sarawak. The train, with a production capacity of 3.6 million tonnes of LNG per year, started on Jan 1. - Reuters

Indian court summons ‘served’ to billionaire: Billionaire Ananda Krishnan and his long-time point man Ralph Marshall’s run-in with Indian authorities reached a new epoch on Monday with the publishing of a two-page court order by the Supreme Court of India in Malaysian newspapers summoning the duo to appear before it or risk financial consequences. - Edge FD

Ecofirst Q2 net profit halves on-year amid lower billings: Eco first Consolidated Bhd’s net profit fell 55% to RM5.23 million in its second quarter, as top line declined 49%. Revenue came in at RM12.07 million, compared with RM23.63 million a year ago. - Edge FD

Miti: Malaysia-China trade not political: International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said on Monday that portraying bilateral trade between China and Malaysia as a political issue is a “misinterpretation”. - Edge FD

Ringgit expected to weaken during Trump’s first 100 days, says HSBC: Based on historical trends, Asian currencies — especially the ringgit, rupee and rupiah — are likely to weaken against the US dollar in the 100 days after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, says HSBC Global Research. - Edge FD

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