Breakfast briefing: Wednesday, October 25 (Update)

MarketWatch: US stocks declined on Monday as each of the major Wall Street indexes retreated from a record, weighed down by a drop in technology and industrial shares. The DJIA fell 54.25 points, or 0.23%, to 23,274.38, the S&P 500 lost 10.19 points, or 0.40%, to 2,565.02 and the Nasdaq dropped 42.23 points, or 0.64 %, to 6,586.83. - Reuters




Brent oil rose 1% on Tuesday after top exporter Saudi Arabia said it was determined to end a supply glut, while prices also drew support from forecasts of a further drop in US crude inventories as well as nervousness over tensions in Iraqi Kurdistan. Brent crude, the global benchmark, settled up 96 cents or 1.7% to US$58.33 a barrel. - Reuters


Forex summary

*The ringgit lost 0.03% to 4.2332 versus the US$

*Down 0.01% to 4.9792 versus euro

*Up 0.48% to 5.5613 per pound sterling

*Up 0.04% to 5.5613 per Singapore dollar

*Up 0.67% to 3.3117 per Aussie

*Down 0.07% to 3.7179 per 100 yen


Top foreign stories


At least three buyout groups seen advancing in Unilever spreads auction: A team comprising Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice along with private equity rivals KKR and Apollo are expected to move to the second round an auction for Unilever’s margarine and spreads business while two other private equity groups are no longer in the fray, sources said. - Reuters


AT&T results miss estimates as video competition rises: AT&T Inc’s quarterly results missed Wall Street estimates as the US No. 2 wireless carrier lost video subscribers to traditional and online TV competitors and fewer of its existing customers upgraded their devices ahead of Apple Inc’s launch of the iPhone X. AT&T reported net income of US$3.0 billion, or 49 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from US$3.3 billion, or 54 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. - Reuters


ICE buys stake in Euroclear to bolster European securities footprint: The Intercontinental Exchange has paid 275 million euros (US$323.5 million) for a “strategic” stake in Euroclear, Europe’s biggest settlement house for securities, stealing a march on rival London Stock Exchange. The move strengthens New York Stock Exchange owner ICE’s footprint in Europe. - Reuters


Fiat Chrysler's bet on Jeeps and trucks lifts quarterly profit: The push to sell more higher-margin Jeep SUVs and RAM trucks lifted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ quarterly earnings, making chief executive Sergio Marchionne confident the carmaker can turn cash positive by the end of 2018. The company said adjusted earnings before interest and tax for the July-September period rose 17% to 1.76 billion euros, while revenues were down 2%, both in line with consensus forecasts. - Reuters


US sets antidumping duties on Argentine, Indonesian biodiesel: The US Commerce Department set preliminary antidumping duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, after an initial finding that the products used as motor fuel were being sold at prices below market value in the United States. The antidumping duties set range from 54.36% to 70.05% on soy-based biodiesel from Argentina, and 50.71% on palm oil biodiesel from Indonesia, the department said. - Reuters


Top local stories


What to watch for in Budget 2018: The Budget 2018 would see the introduction and expansion of initiatives to support private consumption growth, while maintaining the commitment towards fiscal consolidation, says AllianceDBS Research chief economist Manokaran Mottain. The Government will likely set a growth target of at least 5% for 2018 and project consumer price index at below 4% next year, he said. Revenue projections could rise for Budget 2018 on higher crude oil prices while the budget deficit may be lowered to 2.8% of GDP, as a result. - StarBiz


Auditors doubt LionDiv’s ability to continue operations: Lion Diversified Holdings Bhd’s (LionDiv) external auditors Ernst & Young have issued a disclaimer of opinion on the group’s financial statements for the 2017 financial year, casting doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern for the second year in a row. - StarBiz


FIC reaffirms it still owns properties: Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC) has reaffirmed that it is still the owner of the two companies in the British Virgin Islands, FIC London Hotel (Private) Ltd and FIC Global Ltd, contrary to claims by Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Rafizi Ramli. FIC said it also owns the properties held by both companies, namely, The Park City Grand Plaza Kensington, Felda House, and Grand Felda House. - StarBiz


SPNB forms JV with MNC Wireless to offer financing: The financing arm of Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), SPNB Dana Sdn Bhd, has inked an agreement to form a 70:30 equity joint venture with digital technology solution specialist MNC Wireless Bhd. The move will allow SPNB Dana to provide short-term financing of downpayments and/or differential sums for eligible homebuyers of housing developments developed by SPNB and its group of companies. - StarBiz


Edaran gets nod to continue customs contract: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department has given its nod to Edaran Bhd to continue with the Custom’s Information System project worth RM149.97mil. Edaran unit Edaran IT Services Sdn Bhd would undertake the project for two years from Sept 1, 2017. - StarBiz


Shares in Top Glove, Supermax, Adventa down sharply: Shares in Top Glove Corp Bhd, Supermax Corp Bhd and Adventa Bhd fell sharply after Top Glove’s top official made it clear the company was not buying Adventa or Supermax. Adventa fell eight sen or 9.58% to 75.5 sen on Tuesday, while Supermax lost 15 sen or 7.26% to RM1.89, and Top Glove shed 29 sen or 4.23% to close at RM6.39. - StarBiz


Denko hits limit up on acquisition plan: Denko Industrial Corp Bhd shares hit limit up after gaining 30% to RM1.66, as investor interest rose on the company’s proposal to acquire plastic injection moulding firm Integrated Manufacturing Solutions Sdn Bhd for RM1.19bil.


‘Outperform’ rating on I-Bhd on encouraging sales: Public Investment Research has assigned an “outperform” rating on I-Bhd with a target price of 91 sen on the back of encouraging sales and healthy margins. The research outfit said it continues to see strong earnings recognitions on the back of I-Bhd’s RM303.3mil unbilled sales. - StarBiz


Pensonic eyes IoT market: Electrical and electronics manufacturer Pensonic Holdings Bhd is exploring the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) business, and has put in place a five-year business plan besides joining an IoT consortium. - StarBiz


Luxx Newhouse to invest RM80m in UEM Sunrise’s SILC: Building materials company Luxx Newhouse Group will be investing RM80mil over the next five years in UEM Sunrise Bhd’s Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters (SILC) phase 3, boosting total committed investments in the industrial park in Johor to RM117mil. - StarBiz

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