Breakfast briefing: Friday, April 7

Maya Jackson, a Lyft driver from Sacramento, navigates a Lyft app on a smartphone during a photo opportunity in San Francisco, California February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

MarketWatch: Wall Street's major indexes closed slightly higher on Thursday but finished well off session highs as investors were nervous about upcoming talks between China's President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump. The DJIA closed up 14.8 points, or 0.07%, to close at 20,662.95, the S&P 500 gained 4.54 points, or 0.19%, to 2,357.49 after reaching a session high of 2,364.16 earlier in the day. The Nasdaq added 14.47 points, or 0.25%, to 5,878.95.- Reuters


Oil prices rose by 1% on Thursday, posting a fourth straight day of gains, but analysts remained cautious about record-high US crude inventories. Brent crude futures settled up 53 cents, or 1%, at US$54.89 a barrel. - Reuters

Top foreign stories

BoE plans liquidity tool for Islamic banks: The Bank of England (BoE) said on Thursday it will develop a syariah-compliant liquidity tool for use by Islamic banks, under- scoring efforts to attract business from the industry’s core centres in the Middle East and South-East Asia. - Reuters

BP slashes CEO’s pay by 40%: BP has trimmed chief executive Bob Dudley’s annual remuneration package by almost US$8 million (RM35.44 million) to US$11.6 million, it said in its annual report on Thursday, after shareholders last year voted against his pay deal. - Reuters

Samsung Electronics says first-quarter operating profit likely rose 48% year-on-year: Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd estimated on Friday its first-quarter operating profit rose 48% from a year earlier, beating expectations as strong memory chip prices likely padded margins. Samsung said its January-March profit was likely 9.9 trillion won ($8.76 billion), compared with an average forecast of 9.4 trillion won from a Thomson Reuters survey of 18 analysts. Revenue likely rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier to 50 trillion won, Samsung said. - Reuters

Lyft valued at US$7.5b in new funding round: Ride services company Lyft Inc has nearly completed a funding round of at least US$500 million, valuing the company at US$7.5 billion, a source said. The US$7.5 billion valuation marks a sharp increase from the US$5.5 billion valuation at Lyft's last financing more than a year ago. - Reuters

Galvanized by Kraft, Unilever keeps shareholders sweet with cash: Unilever promised shareholders a multi-billion euro rewards package on Thursday after February's US$143 billion takeover offer from Kraft Heinz jolted it into a corporate makeover aimed at proving it can go it alone. - Reuters

Top local stories

Country Garden seeks a bigger market:  Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd of China is seeking a bigger market for its property developments in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, particularly Forest City. Following restrictions on the outflow of funds from China, the property developer is now seeking the services of international agencies to market its products to buyers in Asia and beyond. - StarBiz

Tourism Tax Bill must be value accretive, says CEO: The newly passed Tourism Tax Bill 2017 has to be value accretive to enable the tourism and hospitality industries to thrive, says KLCCP Stapled Group CEO Datuk Hashim Wahir. Speaking after the group’s AGM on Thursday, he said the tourism tax would put pressure on customer traffic, as it meant tourists would now have to spend more, and it remained to be seen how the tax would affect tourism activities. - StarBiz

* KLCCP Stapled Group is currently in the midst of negotiating with a potential tenant to take up 40% of Menara Exxon-Mobil which is vacant.  e group is targeting at completing the negotiation in the next two months.

Maybank confident of economic rebound this year: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) foresees an uptick in economic activity this year, which will bode well for gross domestic product (GDP) growth as well as the finance industry. It expects GDP to grow to 4.4% this year with the recovery in trade playing a major factor, said group president and CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias. - StarBiz

Pestech Cambodia wins power plant contract: Pestech International Bhd unit Pestech (Cambodia) Ltd has received a contract from Cambodia-based Alex Corp to construct a hydro-electric power plant in Phnom Penh. The contract is valued at US$100.21mil (RM444.6mil), - StarBiz

Bina Puri indirect unit makes another attempt at listing: Bina Puri Holdings Bhd’s indirectly-owned subsidiary, PT Megapower Makmur Tbk, is making another attempt to list on the Indonesia Stock Exchange after an earlier agreement with the stock market operator fell through. - StarBiz

Tanco extends closing date to May 2: Tanco Holdings Bhd is extending the closing date and time for acceptances of the conditional mandatory takeover offer by the company’s major shareholders from April 7 to May 2. - StarBiz

GFM posts net profit of RM13mil for FY16: GFM Services Bhd has reported a net profit of RM13mil on a revenue of RM91.7mil for its financial year 2016 ended Dec 31 (FY16). The Ace market-listed company’s performance was impacted by a one-off impairment on the goodwill acquisition of AsiaEP Resources Bhd amounting to RM3.6mil. - StarBiz

Boustead sees another year of good performance: Diversified group Boustead Holdings Bhd expects to have another year of good growth due to its exposure to six main sectors that are seeing growth in line with the improving economy. The company’s bottomline will also be helped by its continuous efforts to dispose of non-core assets. - StarBiz

JHM proposes one-for-one bonus issue: JHM Consolidated Bhd, whose share price has surged 30% since the start of this month, announced a proposed one-for-one bonus issue plus a proposed private placement to third parties. The announcement came after the company was issued an unusual market activity query by Bursa Malaysia on Thursday. - Edge FD

Hiap Teck: Deal with An Steel no-go as talks took too long: Hiap Teck has claried that it decided not to extend the deadline to complete its planned share swap deal with An Steel International Co Ltd because negotiations to come to an agreement took too long. Talks had taken more than nine months, and the continued production suspension at its unit Eastern Steel Sdn Bhd is not in the best interest of the company, it said. - Edge FD

Brahim’s aims to increase non-airline revenue contribution to 30% to 40%: Brahim’s Holdings Bhd aims to increase its non-airline business revenue contribution to between 30% and 40% this year to reduce dependency on its airline catering business. Executive chairman Datuk Seri Ibrahim Ahmad said the group’s airline business currently contributes about 85% of revenue. - Bernama
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