Breakfast briefing: Thursday, October 12 (Update)

MarketWatch: Major stock indexes edged up to post record closing highs on Wednesday with sector moves in the S&P 500 showing preference toward so-called defensive stocks The DJIA rose 42.21 points, or 0.18%, to end at 22,872.89, the S&P 500 gained 4.6 points, or 0.18%, to 2,555.24 and the Nasdaq added 16.30 points, or 0.25%, to 6,603.55. - Reuters




Oil prices rose for the third day on Wednesday as Opec forecast higher demand for 2018 and heightened tensions in Kurdistan supported prices.

Brent crude futures rose 33 cents, or 0.6%, to settle USat $56.94 per barrel. Brent rose 2% the previous day. - Reuters

Forex summary


*The ringgit gained 0.02% to 4.2218 versus the US$


*Down 0.46% to 5.0097 versus euro


*Down 0.47% to 5.5914 per pound sterling


*Down 0.26% to 3.1157 per Singapore dollar


*Down 0.42% to 3.2961 per Aussie


*Down 0.05% to 3.7553 per 100 yen

Top foreign stories


World's biggest asset manager closes in on US$6tril in assets: BlackRock Inc is closing in on an industry-record US$6 trillion in assets under management as investors storm into the company's index funds and the bull market in US stocks rages on. The world's biggest asset manager reported an 8.2% rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday, beating Wall Street estimates on almost every count as it attracted US$96 billion, with about half of that moving into relatively low-cost exchange-traded funds. - Reuters


Goldman creates 'brain trust' in effort to boost deals business: Goldman Sachs Group Inc is betting it can get its money-making mojo back by pitching creative deals to big, complex clients, marking a return to its investment banking roots as trading revenue slows. The new “brain trust,” as one insider called it, is aimed at supercharging investment banking revenue as trading, for many years Goldman’s profit engine, has faltered amid regulations and market trends that hurt the bank more than rivals. - Reuters


Kroger exploring sale of convenience stores: Kroger Co said on Wednesday it was exploring the sale of its nearly 800 convenience stores as the No. 1 US supermarket operator strengthens its online businesses in a market share war that has intensified since Inc’s purchase of Whole Foods. - Reuters


Novartis decides not to sell Roche stake: Novartis has decided not to sell its roughly US$14 billion (10.61 billion pounds), 33% voting stake in Roche following a review, chairman Joerg Reinhardt said in an interview published on Wednesday in Swiss newspaper HandelsZeitung. - Reuters


Lufthansa set to buy parts of Air Berlin: Lufthansa is poised to agree a deal to buy assets from insolvent Air Berlin, a source said, ahead of a deadline on Thursday. Germany’s largest airline is set to buy Air Berlin’s Niki leisure unit, its LG Walter regional airline and some additional short-haul aircraft, the source said on Wednesday. - Reuters


Top local stories


George Kent bids for HSR jobs: George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd has entered into a pre-consortium agreement with Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, Germany and Siemens Pte Ltd, Singapore to bid for a slice of the lucrative, multi-billion ringgit Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project. The companies will bid for the development, financing, construction, technical operations and maintenance of HSR.  - StarBiz


Johan gets takeover offer from Tan Kay Hock: Johan Holdings Bhd said it has received a conditional mandatory takeover offer of 25 sen per share from its substantial shareholder and CEO Tan Sri Tan Kay Hock, after he raised his stake in the company to 48.17% in a deal worth RM3.75mil. - StarBiz


MCMC opens tender for 700Mhz spectrum: The Communications and Commission (MCMC) is opening the 700Mhz spectrum for tender and has set a limit of four spectrum blocks per applicant. Each spectrum block is 2x5MHz. - StarBiz


Technology changing office space trend: Knight Frank Malaysia executive director (corporate services) Teh Young Khean says multinational companies and local corporations are taking advantage of the availability of better grade office space at competitive rates and attractive tenancy terms. Also, the serviced office segment, or co-working space, is growing as millennials and older businessmen and women turn to short-term office rental of a month or two. - StarBiz


Takeover offer for Dataprep: Dataprep Holdings Bhd has received a takeover offer from the founder of the diversified Widad Business Group, Tan Sri Muhammad Ikmal Opat Abdullah, at 16 sen per share. The offer price is at a steep discount of 58.97% to the last traded price of 39 sen. - StarBiz


Greentech signs four MoUs to promote greener Malaysia: Malaysian Green Technology Corp (Greentech Malaysia) has entered into four separate memorandums of understanding to consolidate efforts and initiatives towards low carbon mobility and a greener palm oil industry in Malaysia. - StarBiz


TNB unit to build waste heat recovery power plant: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) unit TNB Repair And Maintenance Sdn Bhd will set up a waste heat recovery power plant to generate electricity from waste heat from Cement Industries Malaysia Bhd’s two cement plants in Bahau, Negri Sembilan and Bukit Keteri, Perlis. - StarBiz


Worldwide Holdings sees a better year for residential sector: Worldwide Holdings Bhd is seeing a gradual improvement in the residential property sector. The company is targeting a sales value of RM289mil this year and has scheduled three projects to launch. For 2018, it sees sales of RM356mil for 2018 and has scheduled for launch four projects. - StarBiz


Genting unit plans to issue US$500m guaranteed notes: Genting Bhd ’s indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, GOHL Capital Ltd, plans to issue US$500mil worth of guaranteed notes to fund the development of Resorts World Las Vegas and for the group’s working capital. - StarBiz

Breakfast Briefing