Breakfast briefing: Friday, December 8

  • Business
  • Friday, 08 Dec 2017

But critics say that the price run-up is a bubble that has been driven mostly by speculation.

MarketWatch: Wall Street rose on Thursday, buoyed by popular technology companies including Facebook and Alphabet, while shares of yoga pants seller Lululemon Athletica also worked up a sweat. The DJIA rose 0.29% to end at 24,211.48 points, the S&P 500 gained 0.29% to 2,636.98 and the Nasdaq added 0.54% to 6,812.84. - Reuters




Oil prices climbed more than 1% on Thursday due to a threatened strike in Nigeria and as traders cover shorts after sharp losses the previous day brought on by an unexpectedly large rise in US stocks of refined fuels. Brent futures rose 98 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at US$62.20 a barrel. - Reuters


Top foreign stories


Bitcoin flirts with US$16,000, alarm bells ring louder: Bitcoin rocketed to a lifetime high just shy of US$16,000 on Thursday after climbing some 60% over one week, intensifying the debate about whether the cryptocurrency is in a bubble about to burst. The largest US cryptocurrency exchange struggled to keep up with record traffic as the price surged, with an upcoming launch of the first bitcoin futures contract further fuelling investor interest. - Reuters


General Electric to cut 12,000 jobs in power business revamp: General Electric Co said it is axing 12,000 jobs at its global power business, the struggling industrial conglomerate’s latest effort to shrink itself into a more focused company. The US company launched the cuts to save US$1 billion in 2018 at its Power business, saying it expects dwindling demand for fossil fuel power plants to continue. - Reuters


Old Mutual unit picks banks for US$3.35b flotation: Anglo-South African financial services firm Old Mutual’s UK wealth unit has chosen Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to lead its initial public offering (IPO) next year, banking and advisory sources said. The IPO would value the business at about 2.5 billion pounds (US$3.35 billion). - Reuters


Top local stories


SAPURA ENERGY plunges on Q3 loss: Sapura Energy Bhd shares plunged about 20.2% on Thursday after the company posted a net loss of RM274.4mil for the three months to October 2017 compared with a net profit of RM158.06mil a year ago. The losses were due to lower contributions from its engineering and construction and drilling segments as well as lesser share of profit from joint ventures. - StarBiz


PNB gains RM246m from sale of office building in Australia: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) has reportedly gained an investment gain of A$80mil (RM246.2mil) from the sale of an office building in Brisbane, Australia. PNB disposed of Santos Place for A$370mil to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. - StarBiz


Malaysia retail sales down 1.1% in Q3: Retail sales contracted 1.1% in the third quarter as rising cost of living eroded Malaysians purchasing power, according a report compiled by Retail Group Malaysia. For the first nine months of the year, retail sales were up 1.9%, versus a year ago. The Malaysia Retailers Association had projected the third quarter growth rate in August 2017 at 2.9%. The latest figure was also way below RGM forecast at 4.0%. - StarBiz


Poh Kong' quarterly net profit rises three-fold: Poh Kong Holdings Bhd’s net profit increased three-fold to RM5.36mil for the first quarter, from RM1.77mil a year earlier. Revenue was up 19.1% to RM220.93mil, driven by its retail segment. - StarBiz


Property market seen flat: The real estate market is projected to be flat in 2018 with developers inclined to sell more affordable homes despite the low margins attained from the segment, according to AmInvestment Bank. The research house warned that margins could shrink further due to stiff com- petition as developers shift towards affordable homes. - StarBiz


CIMB Research downgrades ASTRO to ‘hold’: CIMB Equities Research has downgraded Astro Malaysia Bhd to “hold” with a lower discounted cashflow-based target price of RM3 due to its less exciting earnings prospects. It said the key upside risks are a recovery in the advertising expenditure, upward revision in average revenue per user and strengthening of ringgit against the US dollar. The key downside risks are rise in content cost, decline in premium pay-TV subs and longer-than-expected gestation periods for new digital initiatives. - StarBiz

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