Breakfast briefing: Friday, February 3 (Update)


MarketWatch: US stocks ended little changed on Thursday as the recent rally continued to stall following President Donald Trump's latest comments on trade and the policies he will pursue. - Reuters

The DJIA fell 6.03 points, or 0.03%, to 19,884.91, the S&P 500 gained 1.3 points, or 0.06%, to 2,280.85 and the Nasdaq dropped 6.45 points, or 0.11%, to 5,636.20.

Energy

Oil prices edged lower on Thursday, giving back early gains as traders grew less concerned about tensions between the United States and Iran. Brent futures fell 24 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at US$56.56 a barrel. - Reuters

Forex summary

*The ringgit lost 0.06% to 4.4255 per US$

*It gained 0.41% to 4.7664 versus euro

*Up 1.35% to 5.5418 per pound sterling

*Up 0.25% to 3.1345 per Singapore dollar

*0.16% higher to 3.3869 per Aussie

*0.21% lower at 3.9292 per 100 yen

Top foreign stories

Visa's profit, revenue tops estimates on payment volume growth: Visa Inc, the world's largest payments network operator, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue as more people made payments using its network. Visa's net income rose 6.6% to US$2.07 billion, while its net operating revenue rose 25% to US$4.46 billion. - Reuters

EU set to approve ChemChina's US$43b bid for Syngenta: ChemChina is set to secure conditional EU antitrust approval for its US$43 billion bid for Swiss pesticides and seeds group Syngenta, the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company, sources said on Thursday. - Reuters

Reckitt Benckiser in talks to buy Mead Johnson for US$16.7b: Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc is in advanced talks to buy Mead Johnson Nutrition Co in a US$16.7 billion deal that would take the British consumer goods maker into the baby formula market and boost its business outside Europe. Reckitt said it was discussing a US$90 per share cash offer, a 29.5% premium to Mead's closing price. - Reuters

Volatility swoon opens up options market opportunities: Whether you believe the rally in US stocks has run out of steam or expect shares to soar on to new highs, the recent slump in stock market volatility has opened up big opportunities for traders in the options market. - Reuters

MAS: Asia companies can endure shocks: Tests done by Singapore’s central bank show Asian companies can withstand shocks far greater than the 1997 and 2008 financial crises, says Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Top local stories

Grab’s Indonesia bet: South-East Asian ride-hailing platform Grab, the company co-founded by Anthony Tan, is making a big bet on the Indonesian market with an investment of US$700mil over the next four years. Indonesia is Grab’s largest market in South- East Asia, with its GrabCar and GrabBike businesses each growing more than 600% in 2016. - StarBiz

Earnings growth of banks seen recovering this year: Amid the sea of “neutral” ratings, one research house is particularly bullish on the sector: CIMB Research, rating the sector as “overweight”, deems that some Malaysian banks are trading at attractive valuations. It also expects banks to see a recovery in net profit growth from 0.3% in 2016 to 11.2% in 2017. - StarBiz

Public Bank FY16 revenue hits RM20b: PUBLIC BANK BHD’s full-year revenue broke the RM20bil mark for the financial period ended Dec 31, 2016, underpinned by continued growth in the net interest income and fee and commission income. Its net profit grew to RM5.2bil from  RM5.06bil and RM19.18bil in FY15. The banking group declared a dividend of 32 sen a share, similar to a year ago. - StarBiz

Indian court discharges ex-minister in Aircel-Maxis case: A special court in India has dropped all charges against the country’s former telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother and others in the Aircel-Maxis deal cases lodged by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, The Times of India reported. - StarBiz

CIMB: Proton deal will fast-track Geely’s presence: Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd’s interest in national car manufacturer Proton Holdings Bhd is seen as a move by the China-based automaker to fast-track and build its presence in South-East Asia, says CIMB Research. - StarBiz

Gamuda-MMC JV settles dispute with contractor: GAMUDA BHD and MMC Corp Bhd have announced that their equal joint-venture entity – MMC Engineering Group Bhd, Gamuda Bhd – has decided to settle the protracted dispute with a contractor of the SMART tunnel project, Wayss & Freytag (M) Sdn Bhd. Gamuda and MMC said they would be paying RM109.14mil to Wayss & Freytag inclusive of interest as full and final settlement of the arbitration proceedings. - StarBiz

Vizione raises RM59mil from rights issue: Vizione Holdings Bhd has raised gross proceeds of RM58.92mil from its renounceable rights issue of new shares with free warrants. The construction company, formerly known as Astral Supreme Bhd, said it had recorded a final subscription level of 99.84%. - StarBiz

Ahmad Don appointed Alliance Bank chairman: Former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Ahmad Mohd Don has been appointed Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd chairman and independent non-executive director, effective Feb 1. - StarBiz

Denko gets takeover offer: Singaporean businessman Foo Chee Juan has launched a conditional voluntary takeover bid for Denko Industrial Corp Bhd as he possibly seeks to consolidate and strengthen his business footprint in the Malaysian plastic injection moulding sector. Denko announced the offer from Oregon Technology Sdn Bhd to acquire all its shares at 55 sen cash apiece. - StarBiz

YTL buys boutique hotel in London: YTL Corp Bhd’s hospitality arm YTL Hotels is buying Threadneedles Hotel, a five-star boutique hotel in London, expanding its portfolio to five properties. The group, through indirect unit Threadneedles Hotel Ltd, bought RW Threadneedle Street Ltd for £9.9mil (RM55.44mil). - StarBiz

Lower LNG price raises risk of twin deficits: Potentially lower liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices over a sustained period could see Malaysia’s current account tip into a deficit, raising the possibility of twin deficits in the country, says Nomura Global Market Research. - Edge FD

MARC removes WCT from watch list: Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC) has removed the rating on WCT Holdings Bhd’s RM2.5 billion debt programmes from its MARCWatch Developing list, as it is satisfied with the construction company’s plan to reduce the debt that had been affecting its credit ratings. - Edge FD

Shin Yang, Harbour-Link take action against PDZ vessel: Shin Yang Ship- ping Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Shin Yang Shipping Corp Bhd, and Harbour-Link Lines Sdn Bhd, a unit of Harbour-Link Group Bhd, have taken legal action against PDZ Holdings Bhd’s vessel PDZ Mewah, seeking delivery of containers shipped by the vessel. - Edge FD


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