Breakfast briefing: Tuesday, April 25 (Update)

Ready to go?: Ma and Najib are expected to announce the plans at an event in Kuala Lumpur.

MarketWrap: US stocks rallied on Monday, tracking a relief rally that swept through Asian and European markets, after centrist candidate and market favorite Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French presidential election. The DJIA rose 216.13 points, or 1.05%, to 20,763.89, the S&P 500 gained 25.46 points, or 1.08%, to 2,374.15 and the Nasdaq added 73.30 points, or 1.24%, to 5,983.82. - Reuters


Oil prices slipped nearly 1% on Monday, extending last week's decline, on lack of confirmation that Opec will extend output cuts until the end of 2017 and as Russia indicated it can lift output if the deal on curbs lapses. Brent crude futures ended the session 36 cents lower at US$51.60 per barrel after hitting a session high of US$52.57 a barrel. - Reuters

Forex summary

*The ringgit was at 4.3865 versus the US$

*It gained 0.31% to 4.7619 versus euro

*Up 0.63% to 5.6060 per pound sterling

*Up 0.29% to 3.1477 per Singapore dollar

*Up 0.46% to 3.3149 per Aussie

*0.56% higher to 3.9855 per 100 yen

Top foreign stories

Jack Ma sees decades of pain as Internet upends older economy: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd chairman Jack Ma said society should prepare for decades of pain as the Internet disrupts the economy. The world must change education systems and establish how to work with robots to help soften the blow caused by automation and the Internet economy, he says. - Bloomberg

PPG raises offer for Akzo Nobel to US$29b: US paint maker PPG Industries raised its proposed offer for Akzo Nobel by about 8% to 26.9 billion euros (US$28.8 billion) on Monday, increasing the pressure on its Dutch rival to enter into talks. - Reuters

Number of US bank branches to shrink 20% in five years: The number of bank branches in the United States will shrink by as much as 20% in five years, according to a report from commercial real estate firm JLL. The US banking industry could save as much as US$8.3 billion annually if it trimmed the number of branches and downsized the average bank branch from 5,000 to 3,000 square feet, JLL found. - Reuters

Top local stories

Green Packet gains traction: Mobile broadband and networking solutions provider Green Packet Bhd seems to have caught the attention of investors with its back-to-the-basics strategy. It seeks more institutional funds after placing out 10% of its shares to a few of them. - StarBiz

Affin ‘comfortable’ with CET 1 ratio of 12.8%: Affin Holdings Bhd is “comfortable” with its current common equity tier (CET) 1 ratio of 12.8%, said group chief executive officer Kamarul Ariffin. It intends to lower its cost-to-income ratio from 60% to 55% this year at the holding company level and to 50% from 52% at the bank level. - StarBiz

Credit Suisse views iWC as long-term proxy for land appreciation: Credit Suisse considers Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWC) as a long-term proxy for the appreciation of central business district land in Johor Baru and Kuala Lumpur. The completion of the recent deals, the property developer will have a landbank of 6,800 acres, the bulk of which will be water- front land facing Singapore, as well as the 500-acre Bandar Malaysia stake in Kuala Lumpur, it said. - StarBiz

Poll: Majority of Malaysians want to own a home in next 6 months: More than half of Malaysians want to own a home, mainly within the KLCC area and Kuala Lumpur city centre. within the next six months, a Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) survey shows.
Stringent lending rules, however, continue to be a major deterrent, association president Datuk Seri F D Iskandar said. - StarBiz

Borneo Oil opening more SugarBun outlets: Borneo Oil Bhd-owned fast-food restaurant chain SugarBun, which now operates 88 outlets, intends to open five more restaurants in Kuantan, Pahang, as part of its expansion plans. - StarBiz

MPOA to name new CEO: The Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) is tipped to name Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd’s head of upstream, Mohamad Nageeb Ahmad Abdul Wahab, as its next chief executive officer. The current CEO Datuk Dr Makhdzir Mardan’s tenure ends in June. - StarBiz

SLP Resources sees 5% higher export volume: SLP Resources Bhd will ship out about 7,500 tonnes of flexible plastic packaging materials, worth about RM70mil, in the first half this year, or about 5% more than a year earlier. - StarBiz

1MDB and IPIC reach agreement over US dollar bonds: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), have reached an agreement in arbitration proceedings involving two US dollar bonds amounting to US$3.5bil. - StarBiz

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