Brent Crude was 0.47% higher to US$56.07 per barrel at 2.26pm.
Ringgit up 0.12% to 4.4585 versus the US dollar at 2.37pm.
Top foreign stories
Alibaba extends bricks-and mortar retail push with Bailian deal: Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has formed a strategic partnership with retail conglomerate Bailian Group, extending a push into bricks-and-mortar retail as online growth slows. — Reuters
Thai Q4 quarterly growth below forecast, seen staying soft: Thailand’s economy expanded less than expected in the last quarter of 2016 and the government left its forecast for growth this year unchanged, indicating recovery will remain a slow process. Growth in October-December was 0.4% from the previous quarter, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, below the 0.6% seen in a Reuters poll. — Reuters
Japan export growth slows, Trump’s trade policies cloud outlook: Japan’s exports rose in January at a slower pace than the previous month due to a decline in shipments to the US and the Lunar New Year holidays and as concerns about growing trade protectionism cast doubts over the outlook. Exports in January rose 1.3% from the same period a year ago, less than the median estimate for a 4.7 percent annual increase. Imports posted their first increase since December 2014. — Reuters
GM shares could climb 35% if it sells Opel: General Motors Co shares could climb by as much as 35% if it succeeds in selling its European Opel brand and focuses on its healthier markets, Barron’s said. If the deal goes through, it could net GM as much as US$1 billion in cash, Barron’s says, citing analysts. — Reuters
Top local stories
Petronas considers US$1b stake sale in offshore gas project: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is aiming to sell a large minority stake in a prized upstream local gas project for up to US$1 billion as it seeks to raise cash and cut development costs, two sources familiar with the matter said. Petronas is looking to sell a stake of as much as 49% in the SK316 offshore gas block in Sarawak, the sources. — Reuters
Petronas Chemicals FY16 earnings higher at RM2.93b: Petronas Chemicals Bhd (PetChem) posted a strong set of results for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 with earnings coming in at RM2.93bil amid a pick up in revenue and boost from the fourth quarter. Group revenue rose 2% to RM13.86bil from FY15 as higher sales volume coupled with stronger US dollar mitigated the lower prices. It declared a dividend of 12 sen for the final quarter, bringing the total amount to 19 sen for FY16. — StarBiz
EPF: Higher dividends if markets recover: The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) does not rule our higher dividends going forward should the FBM KLCI recover after three years of underperformance. The pension fund is also looking into growing its investment exposure in overseas markets as well in the real estate and infrastructure sector.
Malakoff’s fourth-quarter earnings down 15%: Malakoff Corp Bhd’s net profit for the fourth quarter fell 15% to RM90.23mil, mainly due to additional depreciation due to the change in estimate of residual values of gas-fired power plants and lower contribution from Port Dickson Power Bhd due to lower tariff of the extended power purchase agreement. Revenue was higher at RM1.71bil against RM1.38bil previously underpinned by contribution by Tanjung Bin Energy Sdn Bhd. Malakoff declared a final single-tier dividend of 3.5 sen per share. — StarBiz
MyHSR strategic development plan launched: The My Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (MyHSR) Strategic Development Framework (SDF) delivery kick-off for creating inclusive growth along the HSR corridor, was launched on Monday. The SDF lays out three components, namely, economy, inclusivity and sustainability. — Bernama
Improvement seen in property market this year, says EcoWorld: Eco World Development Group Bhd expects the property market to improve this year, supported by the low interest rate environment and positive buying sentiment. It is optimistic of achieving its RM4bil sales target in 2017. — StarBiz
Islamic banking M&A plausible, says AllianceDBS: A new wave of merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the Islamic banking space is plausible, although the timing remains the key risk, says AllianceDBS Research. Potential M&A candidates include the Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) and Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd, it said. — BernamaJohor Port teams up with Pelabuhan Indonesia: Johor Port Bhd, a member of the MMC Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PT Pelabuhan Indonesia IV (PELINDO IV) on several collaborations including a sister port partnership. — Bernama
Gastec to further explore Asean market: Gas Generators (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Gastec), a wholly-owned subsidiary of T7 Global Bhd, aims to continue exploring the Asean market, particularly Myanmar, for power plant projects with its new enhanced capacity. The company’s prime targets are Myanmar and Vietnam. — Bernama
ABM warns of bogus calls: The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) on Monday warned the public of bogus calls using its hotline number, 1-300-88-9980, alleged to be from a bank concerning credit card usage. The association advised anyone who had provided his or her personal information to such callers to immediately contact the bank concerned and lodge a police report. - Bernama
Maserati launches first suburban utility vehicle in Malaysia: Maserati’s first suburban utility vehicle (SUV), the Levante, is now available in Malaysia through NAZA Italia, the official importer and distributor for Maserati. — Bernama