Breakfast briefing: Friday, May 26 (Update)

MarketWrap: The S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record closing highs on Thursday, with the market propped up by gains in the consumer discretionary sector after strong reports from Best Buy and other retailers. The DJIA rose 70.53 points, or 0.34%, to 21,082.95, the S&P 500 gained 10.68 points, or 0.44%, to 2,415.07 and the Nasdaq added 42.23 points, or 0.69%, to 6,205.26. - Reuters


Oil prices tumbled 5% on Thursday as the extension of output curbs by Opec and other producing countries disappointed investors who had hoped for larger cuts, leading to the biggest daily percentage slide in crude prices since early March. Brent crude oil LCOc1 settled down US$2.50, or 4.6% at US$51.46 a barrel. - Reuters

Forex summary

*The ringgit gained 0.07% to 4.2762 versus the US$

*It gained 0.49% to 4.7843 versus euro

*Up 0.79% to 5.5058 per pound sterling

*Up 0.15% to 3.0851 per Singapore dollar

*Up 0.50% to 3.1800 per Aussie

*Down 0.06% to 3.8283 per 100 yen

Top foreign stories

Saudi Aramco to spend US$18b on growth in the Americas: Saudi Aramco plans to spend US$18 billion in the next five years to expand its operations in the Americas, focusing on its US oil refining subsidiary Motiva Enterprises, Motiva said on Thursday. Motiva called the US$18 billion estimate "a general framework of opportunities" to increase refining capacity, branch into chemicals, and expand its commercial operations, marketing and branded presence in the next five years. - Reuters

Big drop in US oil stocks finally on the way, traders say: Oil traders and analysts are expecting large volumes of crude to draw from storage tanks across the United States in coming weeks, in what would be the most tangible sign of an inventory overhang reduction that has punished prices over the last two years. A reduction would show the market is finally reversing course after years of stock builds that left a worldwide overhang of half a billion barrels of crude oil and refined products. - Reuters

Opec, non-Opec extend oil output cut by nine months to fight glut: Opec and non-members led by Russia decided on Thursday to extend cuts in oil output by nine months to March 2018 as they battle a global glut of crude after seeing prices halve and revenues drop sharply in the past three years. - Reuters

Website builder in talks with buyout firms: Group Inc, a US provider of internet domain name registration that also helps businesses build websites, is in talks with private equity firms after receiving takeover approaches, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The company is not actively soliciting offers and there is no certainty that any deal will occur, the sources added. - Reuters

Facebook's Zuckerberg urges Harvard grads to contemplate risk: Facebook founder billionaire Mark Zuckerberg returned on Thursday to Harvard University, the school he dropped out of to start the pioneering social network, to urge its graduating class to help create a new social safety net to allow creative risk-taking. - Reuters

Top local stories

UMW to ramp up Toyota car output: UMW Holdings Bhd will double its manufacturing capacity for Toyota cars on completion of the new Bukit Raja manufacturing plant in 2019. The new plant will start off with a production capacity of 50,000 cars per year, and will churn up to 100,000 cars at maximum capacity. President and group CEO Badrul Feisal Abdul Rahim said the new plant would enable the company to manufacture more Toyota varieties of passenger cars. - StarBiz

Maybank net profit rises 19%: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) posted a net profit of RM1.7bil, or 16.73 sen per share, for its first quarter, up 19% from RM1.43bil or 14.64 sen per share, a year earlier on higher income and lower provisions for bad loans. Revenue was marginally higher at RM11.3bil compared with RM11.2bil a year ago. - StarBiz
Managepay gets approval to operate as a money lender: Electronic payment solutions provider ManagePay Systems Bhd has received conditional approval from the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry to operate as a money lender. - StarBiz

Bank Negara: Provide more affordable housing: There is a growing shortage of affordable housing and increasing surplus in commercial property, says Bank Negara, adding the shortage of affordable homes is expected to hit one million units by 2020. - StarBiz

Axiata returns to the black with net profit of RM239m: Axiata Group Bhd posted a net profit of RM239mil for the first quarter, a turnaround from a net loss of RM309mil in the preceding quarter. However, its earnings dropped by 35% year- on-year, primarily attributed to higher depreciation and amortisation charges coupled with higher finance costs and share of losses from associates. Revenue grew 17.41% to RM5.88bil on strong growth in data-related revenue.- StarBiz

SC files civil suit against seven persons for alleged insider trading: The Securities Commission (SC) has filed a civil suit against seven persons at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for alleged insider trading involving the shares of Worldwide Holdings Bhd, a company previously listed on Bursa Malaysia.
The seven – Datin Paduka Low Siew Moi, Datuk Ter Leong Yap, Ter Leong Hing, Tan Cheng Teik, Liaw Huat Hin, Hoi Main Seng and Chua Keng Hong – were alleged to have been involved in the insider trading of Worldwide shares between 2006 and 2007. - StarBiz

AirAsia Q1 earnings down on higher fuel cost: Increased passenger traffic lifted AirAsia Bhd ’s revenue by 31% to RM2.26bil in the first quarter. Its net profit fell by 30% to RM615.8mil on higher fuel cost. - StarBiz

EPF collects RM5.24b via e-Caruman: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has collected RM5.24bil contribution payments through the e-Caruman, with RM2.14bil collected through its online platform. The pension fund has embarked on initiatives to reduce manual transactions which saw 426,675 employers submit their Form A online through e-Caruman as at March 31, 2017.

Kerjaya Prospek eyes RM800m contracts this year: Construction outfit Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd is confident of achieving its order book target of RM800mil this year. Executive chairman Datuk Tee Eng Ho said the company has secured about RM300mil of jobs so far this year. - StarBiz

PPB Group gets profit boost from associate Wilmar: PPB Group Bhd recorded a 45% increase in net profit to RM358mil for the first quarter. It attributed the growth to its associate company Wilmar International Ltd, as well as improved performance in its consumer products segment.  Revenue fell by 8% to RM1.03bil from RM1.12bil a year earlier. - StarBiz

BIMB Holdings nominates internal candidate as new CEO: BIMB Holdings Bhd has identified an internal candidate as its new group chief executive officer to replace Datuk Seri Zukri Samat who will be retiring after helming the group for 11 years. Zukri said the group had submitted the name to Bank Negara for approval. - StarBiz

Felda chairman: No decision yet on FGV LLA termination: The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) said it has not finalised any decision on terminating Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGV) current land lease agreement (LLA), says chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad. - StarBiz

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