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Asia stocks up slightly, eyes on US-China talks, Fed minutes

TOKYO: Asian stocks gained a tad on Wednesday after U.S-China trade talks resumed while investors awaited minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve for clues on policymakers' thinking on interest rates and its balance sheet reduction policy.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent in early trade. Japan's Nikkei gained 0.4 percent.

Malaysian palm oil/Vegoils: Market factors to watch Wednesday Feb 20

KUALA LUMPUR: The following factors are likely to influence Malaysian palm oil futures and other vegetable oil markets on Wednesday Feb 20.

Malaysian palm oil futures reversed earlier gains to fall over 1 percent in evening trade on Tuesday, as output declines remained slower than in previous years and stocks in key buying markets stayed high.

MIDF: FBM KLCI to reach 1,800 points by year-end

PETALING JAYA: Despite the uncertainties, the local stock market is expected to move in an upward direction this year, backed by a less aggressive US Federal Reserve (Fed), mild local corporate earnings growth and supportive domestic economic policies, says MIDF Research.

In the near term, though, the direction of the local bourse would be influenced by various external factors such as the progress of the US-China trade war, Brexit and the US-North Korea summit, MIDF said

China abandons cybersecurity truce with US, report says

China largely abandoned a hacking truce negotiated by Barack Obama as US President Donald Trump embarked on a trade war with Beijing last year, according to the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike Inc.

China’s hacking targets in 2018 included telecommunications systems in the US and Asia, according to Crowdstrike. The Trump administration has expressed particular concern about the spread of products made by the Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co. — Reuters

HSBC profit disappoints as China, Britain weakness poses challenge

HONG KONG/LONDON: HSBC Holdings Plc posted a disappointing profit growth as higher costs and a stocks rout took a toll on business, while cautioning that a weaker economic outlook for China and Britain would throw up further hurdles this year.

SBC Holdings Plc posted a disappointing profit growth as higher costs and a stocks rout took a toll on business.

EPF: Can't be 'too adventurous' in a challenging 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Uncertainties worldwide will be the new norm as businesses adjust into 2019, and as far as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is concerned, it is not a time for it to be “too adventurous.”

Stressing that the EPF is a long-term fund, CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said that when markets head south, the EPF comes out to hunt.  “Don’t think because markets are bad, it’s necessarily a bad thing.  “It’s going to be challenging this year so let’s stick to what we know and let’s really hunt for the assets that will bring the returns."

Singapore unveils budget bonanza for elderly

SINGAPORE: Singapore has unveiled an expansionary budget for the next financial year, setting aside S$6.1bil for the welfare of its elderly in a generous package before an election expected as soon as this year.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat(filepic) also announced a S$1.1bil bonus package for all Singaporeans to mark 200 years since the former British colony’s founding, that includes vouchers, a cash bonus for lower income workers and income tax rebates for the middle class.

Malaysia-China bilateral trade up 13% in 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between Malaysia and China climbed to an all-new high in 2018, rising 13% to US$108.6bil (RM443bil) from US$96bil (RM392bil) in 2017, with the number of Chinese visitors into Malaysia increasing 29% to 2.94 million last year.

Resilient economy: (from left) China’s ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian, Lim and Tan at the luncheon held in Kuala Lumpur. Lim says Malaysia’s economy remains resilient despite the China-US trade war.

DBS forecasts stable loan growth this year

South-East Asia’s biggest bank reports record annual profit for 2018

CEO Piyush Gupta(pic) said in a statement that DBS’s return on equity of 12.1% for 2018 was near its historical high of 2007, when interest rates were twice the current levels and capital requirements were less stringent.

Alibaba is the force behind hit Chinese Communist Party app: sources

A Chinese government propaganda app that recently became a huge hit was developed by Alibaba, two people at the company said, at a time when the nation's tech firms are under global scrutiny over their ties to Beijing.