Breakfast briefing: Thursday, March 23 (Update)


  • Business
  • Thursday, 23 Mar 2017

Change at the top: ZTE said outgoing chairman Zhao Xianming had resigned from the post "in order to improve the company's management by differentiating the role of chairman and president".

MarketWatch: Wall Street ended mixed after a choppy session on Wednesday as investors focused on President Donald Trump's struggle to push through a healthcare bill and snapped up stocks after a steep drop the day before. The DJIA declined 0.03% to end at 20,661.3 points, the S&P 500 gained 0.19% to 2,348.45 and the Nasdaq added 0.48% to 5,821.64. - Reuters

* The Trump Trade could start looking more like a Trump Tantrum if the new US administration's healthcare bill stalls in Congress, prompting worries on Wall Street about tax cuts and other measures aimed at promoting economic growth. Investors are dialling back hopes that US President Donald Trump will swiftly enact his agenda, with a Thursday vote on a healthcare bill a litmus test which could give stock investors another reason to sell. - Reuters

Energy

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday to their lowest since late November, with Brent testing the US$50 per barrel support, after data showed record high US crude inventories rising faster than expected, raising doubts over the viability of Opec-led output cuts. Brent crude shed 32 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at US$50.64 a barrel. - Reuters

Forex summary

*The ringgit lost 0.08% to 4.4315 per US$

*It lost 0.10% to 4.7792 versus euro

*Down 0.16% to 5.5273 per pound sterling

*Down 0.14% to 3.1644 per Singapore dollar

*0.32% lower to 3.3934 per Aussie

*0.21% higher at 3.9749 per 100 yen


Top foreign stories

China's ZTE Corp pleads guilty in US court in sanctions case: Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp on Wednesday pleaded guilty in US federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate US sanctions by illegally shipping US goods and technology to Iran. The guilty plea was part of an agreement the company reached earlier this month with US authorities that also called for nearly US$900 million in fines and other penalties. - Reuters

Canada seeks to end Uber's tax advantage over taxi companies: The new national budget unveiled on Wednesday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took aim at ride-sharing providers such as Uber Technologies Inc, looking to end a tax advantage they have over traditional taxi companies. The budget statement said Trudeau's government plans to amend Canada's Excise Tax Act to redefine ride-sharing firms as taxi companies. That would force them to collect the goods and services tax on every ride provided, just as taxi operators are required to do. - Reuters

Amazon to buy Middle Eastern online retailer souq.com: Amazon.com Inc has agreed in principle to buy Dubai-based internet retailer Souq.com, one of the best-known names in the Middle East's online shopping market, sources said on Wednesday. Souq.com lays claim on its website to being the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world. - Reuters

China tells cornerstones to bring money home in blow for smaller HK IPOs: China has made it mandatory for mainland cornerstone investors in Hong Kong IPOs to repatriate funds when they sell their shares, a rule likely to hit smaller, cornerstone-reliant listings, sources said. - Reuters

Top local stories

Bursa cools off: Trading volume on Bursa Malaysia fell steeply from 6.01 billion shares on Monday to 3.16 billion on Wednesday due to a combination of a warning from the stock market regulator on unsustainable trading activities and a weak performance of the US stock market. - StarBiz

AirAsia India lodges police report after probe: AirAsia (India) Ltd, AirAsia Bhd’s joint venture with Tata group, has lodged a police report following a probe by an external agency into irregular personal expense claims and certain company charges. - StarBiz

FGV denies Tradewinds link: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) says it “never had direct discussions with Tradewinds”, quashing a news report the latter was one of a few possible strategic investors. - StarBiz

Eco World International IPO oversubscribed by nine times: Eco World International Bhd’s initial public offering (IPO) has been oversubscribed nine times by institutional investors and by 8.87 times for the public portion, says Malaysian Issuing House Sdn Bhd. The final price for both the institutional and retail offering was fixed at RM1.20 involving a flotation of 2.153 billion shares. - StarBiz

Iconic Digital Free Trade Zone launched: The iconic Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) was launched on Wednesday and its component Kuala Lumpur Internet City (KLIC) aims to house at least 1,000 Internet-related firms, says KLIC master developer Catcha Group. The KLIC would encompass 5 million sq ft built over 15 years with an estimated gross development value of RM5bil. It is intended to be one of the world’s largest purpose-built digital hub for global technology giants from China, the US and other countries. - StarBiz

George Kent earnings forecast raised: Hong Leong Investment Bank Research has raised the earnings forecast for George Kent (M) Bhd by 18% and 27% for financial years 2018 and 2019, respectively after the company posted strong results for financial year ended Jan 31, 2017. - StarBiz

WSJ: US preparing charges against Jho Low: US authorities are planning to file criminal charges against financier Jho Low in a money laundering investigation surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the Wall Street Journal reported. The charges would include wire fraud against Low and some of his associates, the paper said, citing sources. The report said the prosecution’s plans could change or be dropped as the probe con- tinues and there was no timing provided on when the charges could be filed. - StarBiz

Scientex profit up on manufacturing, property ops: Scientex Bhd’s net profit for its second quarter increased to RM65.19mil from RM64.62mil a year earlier on higher contribution from its manufacturing and property divisions. Revenue rose to RM586.25mil from RM545.43mil a year earlier. - StarBiz

AmBank expects 15% growth in SME loans: AmBank (M) Bhd expects a 15% growth from its small and medium-enterprise (SME) loan segment for the financial year 2017, driven by the banking group’s top four strategy it started last year. - StarBiz

Geely pulls out of buying Proton: China’s Geely Automobile Holdings has withdrawn its bid to acquire a controlling stake in Malaysian automaker Proton, Geely president An Conghui told the South China Morning Post. The president did not elaborate on the reasons for the Proton decision. - Edge FD/South China Morning Post

Weekly ceiling petrol price from next week: The government will implement a weekly retail ceiling price for petrol and diesel starting next Wednesday, with new prices to take effect after midnight that day, according to Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin. - Edge FD

Conditional MGO made to Halex at 64 sen per share: Halex Holdings Bhd has received a conditional mandatory general offer from Waras Dinamik Sdn Bhd and Datuk Ong Soon Ho to acquire all the remaining shares in Halex not held by them at 64 sen per share in cash. The offer price is 4.5% below Wednesday’s closing of 67 sen. - Edge FD

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