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=ASIA MARKETS: Singapore, Malaysia Shares Slip On Slowing China, US Rate Worries

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 19) -- Singapore shares Friday fell, capping a volatile week with small loss, as worries over rising U.S. interest rates, geopolitics and trade overshadowed Wall Street earnings optimism. Malaysia stocks also dipped.

The Straits Times Index ended 0.2% lower at 3062.51 amid decline in industrials, particularly Yangzijiang Shipbuilding. The FBM KLCI closed down 0.3% at 1732.14 as Axiata Group led a decline in telecom stocks . For the week, the Singapore benchmark was down 0.2% while Malaysian gauge was up 0.1%.

“Regional risk sentiment remains ever so fragile as any sliver of optimism from U.S. earnings gave way to that reality that trade tension and geopolitical unrest continues to gurgle,” said OANDA Head of Asia Trading Stephen Innes.

Asian equities ended mixed on Friday, with some markets recovering from early losses triggered by an overnight slide on Wall Street. The Nikkei Asia300 Index was 0.1% higher.

S&P 500 is reporting the second-highest net profit margin in 10 years at 11.6% in the third quarter, according to FactSet. Blended earnings, which combines actual results for companies that have reported and estimated results for companies yet to report, grew 19% in the third quarter.

Still, disappointing growth numbers out of China hurt regional sentiment, as investors weighed the economic impact of an ongoing Sino-American trade war. Asia’s largest economy grew at 6.5% in the third quarter, the slowest pace since 2009.

In earnings news, Maxis fell 2.2% as analysts warned of further earnings weakness after the Malaysian wireless carrier posted a 9% drop in third quarter profit.

Construction firm Gabungan AQRS added 5.9% after posting 80.7% jump in third-quarter net profit, helped by increased revenue. In Singapore, Keppel Corp. fell 1.8% after reporting a 15% decrease in third quarter net profit on a 20% drop in revenue.

Borneo Aqua Harvest jumped 4.9% in Malaysia after announcing that gold production at its Sabah mine jumped over threefold month-on-month.

Datasonic Group plunged 30%. The Malaysian company denied issuing any payment to former Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who has been charged for bribery in relation to the supply of passport chips.

My E.G. Services was suspended from trading after the stock plummeted 30% and hit limit down. Zahid was also alleged to have received multiple payments in his capacity as Home Minister to help a consulting company get a MyEG project, prosecutors said.

- By Suzannah Benjamin and Alexander Winifred, alexander.winifred@nikkeinewsrise.com; +603-20267363
- Edited By Jason Ng
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