Top foreign and local stories at 4pm

International benchmark Brent crude futures managed to defend $40 per barrel in early trading on Tuesday, standing at $40.51 at 0154 GMT, down 33 cents from their last settlement. On Monday, the contract had surged over 5.5 percent in intra-day trading and remains 50 percent above 2016 lows from Jan. 20


Brent crude was 0.09% higher to US$55.67 per barrel at 3.31pm.


Ringgit up 0.15% to 4.2308 versus the US dollar at 3.42pm.

Top foreign stories

China services sector growth falls to 21-month low in September: Business activity in China’s services sector grew at its slowest pace in 21 months in September as the pace of new business cooled, a private survey shoed. That contrasts with an official gauge of the non-manufacturing sector that showed the services sector expanded at the fastest clip since 2014 in September. The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index fell to 50.6 in September, the lowest reading since December 2015 and one of the weakest since the survey began in 2005. — Reuters

Australia’s CBA hit with class action suit over money-laundering rule breaches: An Australian law firm formally filed a class action suit against Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) on behalf of shareholders on Monday, accusing it of failing to disclose widespread breaches of anti-money-laundering rules. Maurice Blackburn statement on Monday did not specify the level of damages sought. — Reuters

Accor in US$920m Mantra bid as Australia tourist boom stokes hotel demand: France’s Accor SA has bid A$1.18 billion (US$920 million) for Mantra Group Ltd - a deal that would combine the two biggest hotel owners in Australia and seek to capitalise on surging tourism in the country. Accor, already the biggest hotelier in Australia, offered A$3.96 a share, or a 23% premium to Mantra’s closing price on Friday. — Reuters

Oil up on lower US rig count, expectation of ongoing Saudi output restraint: Oil prices edged up on Monday, after a 2% slide on Friday, as the number of rigs drilling for new oil in the United States dipped and on expectations that Saudi Arabia would continue to restrain its output to support the market. Brent crude futures were up 17 cents, or 0.3%, at US$55.79 a barrel. — Reuters

Thailand gets aviation safety upgrade: The UN International Civil Aviation Organization has removed a red flag against Thailand over safety concerns, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said on Monday. Thailand was downgraded in June 2015 after its regulator missed a deadline to resolve significant safety concerns, meaning that airlines in Thailand were unable to add further international routes, though they could continue to operate routine flights. — Reuters

Top local stories

Banks approved RM42.2b loans in first 8 months, says ABM: The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) has refuted a news report that home buyers are finding it harder to obtain a housing loan and that approval time is increasing. It said for the first eight months of 2017, commercial banks approved and disbursed over RM42.2bil and about RM39.5 billion in loans, respectively, for the purchase of residential properties. — StarBiz 

TA Global scraps plan to buy properties or assets: TA Global Bhd has scrapped a plan to use bulk of the A$245mil proceeds from the sale of its development property in New South Wales, Australia, to acquire properties, assets or business. Instead, the company now plans to use A$180mil (RM595,62mil) of the proceeds to repay bank borrowings and A$46mil as working capital for ongoing property development projects. — StarBiz

LPI Capital Q3 earnings rise 18.5% to RM92m: LPI Capital Bhd’s earnings for the third quarter rose 18.5% to RM92.17mil from a year ago on a revenue that jumped 11.8% to RM406.78mil, due to strong performance of Lonpac Insurance. Lonpac’s gross premium income grew 34.6% to RM416.6mil from RM309.6mil a year ago while its profit before tax rose 20.3% to RM102.4mil. — StarBiz

UEM Sunrise on track to hit RM1.2b sales target: UEM Sunrise Bhd is on track to hit its RM1.2bil sales target for 2017, CEO Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib said before launching the first phase of Residensi Solaris Parq, a RM755mil gross development value mixed development in Mont Kiara on Monday. — StarBiz

Foreign funds’ net selling down to nearly RM83m: Foreign fund selling on Bursa Malaysia fell to RM82.9mil in the week ended Oct 6 compared with the near RM1bil a week earlier, says MIDF Equities Research. It said net inflow into shares listed on Bursa so far this year was slightly lower at RM9.53bil from RM9.61bil the week before. — StarBiz

Malaysians’ median monthly household income rises to RM5,228 in 2016: The median monthly household income for Malaysians in 2016 improved 6.6% to RM5,228 from RM4,585 in 2014, said chief statistician of Malaysia Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin. The mean monthly household income increased 6.2% to RM6,958 in 2016 from RM6,141 in 2014, he said. — Bernama

AirAsia X to launch flights to S. Korea’s Jeju island: AirAsia X Bhd announced it will start four direct weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to South Korea’s island province of Jeju in South Korea. The service will begin on Dec 12, 2017, and the promotional all-in fares start from RM199 one-way. — StarBiz
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