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Breakfast briefing: Friday, November 18

by November 18, 2016 General

MarketWrap: The benchmark S&P 500 index rose to within a hair of its record high on Thursday as bank stocks got a boost from bets on higher interest rates and consumer discretionary stocks were helped by economic data and earnings. – Reuters

The DJIA finished up 35.68 points, or 0.19%, at 18,903.82, the S&P 500 gained 10.18 points, or 0.47%, to end at 2,187.12 and the Nasdaq added 39.39 points, or 0.74%, to reach 5,333.97.

Forex summary

*The ringgit lost 0.09% to 4.3985 per US$

*It was 1.15%% higher at 4.6643 per euro

*Up 0.45% to 5.4561 per pound sterling

*Up 0.55% to 3.0886 per Singapore dollar

*1.20% higher to 3.2514 per Aussie

*Flat at 3.9902 per 100 yen


Oil prices settled slightly lower on Thursday, then fell as much as 1% in the after-market session as a stronger dollar outweighed expectations of an Opec deal to limit production. Brent crude LCOc1 settled down 14 cents a barrel at US$46.49. – Reuters

Top foreign stories

Yellen says Fed could raise interest rates ‘relatively soon’: The election of Donald Trump as US president has done nothing to change the Federal Reserve’s plans for a rate increase “relatively soon,” Fed chair Janet Yellen said on Thursday in Congressional testimony that included a pledge to serve out her term. – Reuters

Tesoro to buy Western Refining for about US$4.1b: US oil refiner Tesoro Corp said on Thursday it would buy Western Refining Inc for US$4.1 billion to add refineries in Texas, New Mexico and Minnesota. The combined company will have refining capacity of over 1.1 million barrels per day. Tesoro has refineries in California, Washington, Alaska, Utah and North Dakota. – Reuters

Top British American Tobacco investor Woodford says backs Reynolds deal: Leading British investor Neil Woodford’s fund firm said on Thursday it backed a takeover of Reynolds American by British American Tobacco, calling the tie-up “inevitable”. – Reuters

AOL to cut 500 jobs: Verizon Communications Inc’s digital media unit will lay off 5% of its workforce, or about 500 people, to consolidate operations after recent acquisitions, a person familiar with the situation said on Thursday. – Reuters

Top local stories

Ringgit still on uncertain ground: Despite Bank Negara’s recent initiatives to stabilise the falling ringgit, the currency fell further against the US dollar and is hovering at record lows against regional peers, which could mean the bearish sentiment towards the currency may not be limited to speculative trading in the offshore US dollar-ringgit market. – StarBiz

Bank Negara seen keeping rates at 3%: Standard Chartered Research is the latest research houses to say Bank Negara is likely to keep the overnight policy rate (OPR) unchanged at 3% when the central bank’s monetary policy committee meets next week. “We now expect Bank Negara to cut rates only in the late first quarter of 2017, versus our previous expectation of a 25-basis-point cut at the November meeting,” Asean research head Edward Lee said. – StarBiz

MTD ACPI wins RM679m contract from MRT Corp: Construction firm MTD ACPI Engineering Bhd has been awarded a contract worth RM678.68mil from Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) for the MRT Line 2 project. The contract is for the construction of a viaduct guideway and other associated works from Taman Pinggiran Putra to Persiaran Alpinia. – StarBiz

OCK forms another company in Myanmar: Telecommunications network provider OCK Group Bhd has set up Well Synergy Resources Private Ltd under unit OCK International Sdn Bhd as its second subsidiary in Myanmar. It had in June set up OCK Myanmar Towers Pte Ltd in that country. – StarBiz

YTL posts RM150m profit: Conglomerate YTL Corp Bhd recorded RM150.3mil in net profit for the first quarter, down 25.8% from a year earlier, on lower profit from the information technology (IT) and e-commerce-related businesses, cement manufacturing and trading, property investment and development, management services and utilies segments. Revenue was 21.5% lower at RM3.49bil.

* YTL Power International Bhd‘s net profit fell 21.5% to RM146.5mil in the first quarter on a revenue that increased 27.3% to RM2.3bil.

* YTL Land & Development reported 47.3% lower earnings of RM8.6mil, despite revenue increasing more than two-fold to RM70.8mil. – StarBiz

E&O to launch RM205mil properties in Penang: Property developer Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) plans to launch an estimated RM205mil worth of properties in the next three months at the company’s seafront masterplanned development of Seri Tanjung Pinang, Penang. – StarBiz

GuocoLand posts lower Q1 earnings: Property developer GuocoLand (M) Bhd recorded RM265,000 in earnings for the first quarter, down from RM21.3mil a year earlier due to the recognition of fair value gain of RM16.7mil, arising from the valuation of investment properties. Its revenue fell  24.4% to RM53.5mil. – StarBiz

CIMB Bank eyes 7% loan growth next year: CIMB Bank Bhd is cautiously optimistic of maintaining its loan growth for the consumer banking segment at 7% in 2017, a similar growth rate for this year despite the market challenges. – Bernama

Ann Joo Resources returns to the black: Steel producer Ann Joo Resources Bhd swung to the black for the third quarter with a net profit of RM22.9mil, from a net loss of RM82.3mil a year ago, on a recovery in steel product prices. Revenue was flat at RM323.7mil, down a marginal 0.5%. – StarBiz

Few jobs in O&G sector: With the cautious outlook for oil price likely to signify continued scale-back in cap- ital and operating expenditure by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), this could point towards protracted low demand for services and assets offered by the oil and gas (O&G) sector, says TA Securities Research. – StarBiz

MRCB to sell land to MRT Corp: Construction and property firm Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) proposes to sell a piece of leasehold land in Kuala Lumpur to Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) to make way for the MRT Line 2 construction. – StarBiz

Jobless rate rises in September: The number of jobless people in September grew 4.5% to 512,600, compared with 490,300 in the corresponding period last year. In January, the jobless figure was up 11.4% at 501,500, compared with 450,300 a year ago. – Edge FD

Canada sees Petronas making US$27b LNG decision by April: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) will be ready to decide whether to proceed with a proposed US$27 billion (RM118.53 billion) lique ed natural gas (LNG) plant on Canada’s Pacific Coast by April, says Rich Coleman, British Columbia’s minister of natural gas development. – Bloomberg