Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018


Spotify set for debut, could see volatile trade later

NEW YORK, April 3 — Streaming music leader Spotify Technology SA may face a rough ride in its trading debut today, with the company’s unusual direct listing coming the day after a steep technology selloff on Wall Street. Spotify Chief…

Wall Street higher as tech, consumer discretionary recover

NEW YORK, April 3 — Wall Street’s main indexes were higher today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising more than 100 points, helped by a recovery in the battered technology and consumer discretionary stocks. Amazon and Tesla, the top…

Billionaire Steven Cohen wins dismissal of US$8b Fairfax short-selling lawsuit

NEW YORK, April 3 — The billionaire Steven A. Cohen has won the dismissal of an US$8 billion (RM30.9 billion) lawsuit accusing him and his former firm SAC Capital Advisors LP of conspiring with other hedge funds to spread false rumours about…

Automakers’ March US sales rise, lifted by strong economy

DETROIT, April 3 — Detroit’s automakers posted sales gains in new vehicles in March on the back of a strong US economy, sending shares in both General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV up in early trading. GM posted a 16 per cent…

CNBC: Pfizer in talks with P&G for consumer health unit sale

NEW YORK, April 3 — Pfizer Inc is in talks with Procter & Gamble Co for a sale of the US drugmaker’s consumer health business, CNBC reported today, citing sources. Pfizer is considering options with P&G, including a joint venture, according…

MAA to pay another round of dividend, eyeing Russia O& G asset

PETALING JAYA: Practice Note 17 (PN17) company MAA Group Bhd is paying out another round of dividends with RM32.82 million and allocating RM28 million for a potential investment in an independent oil producer in Kaliningrad, Russia.

“A due diligence exercise will be undertaken on the relevant oil fields prior to the investment and the company will make the necessary announcements upon any material developments in respect of the above in accordance with the listing requirements,” it said in a filing with the stock exchange today.

MAA was classified a PN17 company in 2011, following the sale of its conventional insurance arm Malaysian Assurance Alliance Bhd to Switzerland-based Zurich Insurance Co Ltd. Last January, it was granted an extension of time of up to June 30 to submit its restructuring plan.

MAA had said it was assessing and evaluating companies engaged in manufacturing, oil and gas, education, assisted reproductive technologies industries.

Worth noting is that the actual disposal proceeds from the MAA Takaful sale only amounted to RM364.4 million against RM393.75 million as announced earlier due to certain downward adjustments in accordance with the terms and conditions of the sale and purchase agreement.

Of the proceeds, RM100.76 million was paid out as a special dividend in August 2016, while another RM8.2 million in dividends is being held for payment on April 25.

With its planned venture into the Russian oil and gas industry, MAA Group said it is reducing the amount of monies from the remaining RM233.88 million disposal proceeds from the sale of Zurich Insurance Company Ltd allocated for future investments, to RM68.25 million. Another RM40 million will be for investments to be identified later.

MAA will use RM30.85 million and RM32.82 million for working capital/share buy back and another round of dividend payments, respectively. All the proceeds are to be used within 24 months.

MAA noted that the variation to the utilisation of proceeds is to reward the shareholders, while the amount to be used for working capital is to maintain sufficient level of capital for the group’s day-to-day operations.

It added that the share buy-back exercise is expected to provide support to the share price and consequently preserve the group’s fundamental value.

A sum of RM93.75 million from the sale will only be received in 2019, on the third anniversary of the sale of Zurich Insurance.

Its shares closed unchanged at 69.5 sen today on some 36,800 shares done.

Asia stocks drift lower on trade war fears

HONG KONG: Asian stocks finished today largely on the back foot, following Wall Street lower as fears of a trade war between the United States and China hit market sentiment.

China led the declines, with the main Shanghai Composite index ending down 0.8%.

In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.45% or 96.29 points to 21,292.29, paring early losses.

Markets in Seoul and Hong Kong were also weaker initially, but Hong Kong recovered to end up 0.3%.

Overall, the losses were not as bad as first feared at the open, with stocks across the region clawing back ground later in the session.

“The impact from the US market turned out not to be so bad as to incite terror here” thanks to lingering hopes that tensions may ease in the weeks to come, noted Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

Traders were however spooked by Chinese retaliatory action on trade with the US, as the government in Beijing slapped tariffs on 128 US imports worth US$3 billion (RM11.6 billion), including fruit and pork.

In addition to that move, US President Donald Trump again threatened to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, tweeting that Mexico was doing too little to counter illegal immigration into the United States.

Investors also took their cue from US markets which tumbled on the first trading session back after Easter holidays, both on trade fears and a bearish turn for tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.9% lower Monday while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 2.2%.

But it was tech stocks that led the declines, with the Nasdaq dropping 2.7%.

Giants Amazon, Facebook and Tesla Motors suffered the largest drops but the negative feeling infected the broader market.

Amazon sank 5.2% after a series of attacks by Trump in recent days in which he accused the retailer of profiteering at the expense of the US Postal Service.

“It started with the tech stocks and it’s become ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater,’” said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

“They’re reassessing the valuation on the entire market,” said Kinahan. “A while ago all news was good news. Now (the) news is all things to be afraid of.”

With sentiment souring, the safe-haven yen strengthened earlier in the trading day before also falling back as equities pared losses.

The greenback was changing hands at ¥105.95 today afternoon against ¥106.29 a day earlier.

Against the unsettling background, “the yen has re-emerged as the weapon of choice”, David de Garis, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank, said in a commentary. – AFP

US dollar has record US$745b in bond market betting against it

OSCOW, April 3 — There’s a flipside to the market’s biggest ‘pain’ trade against the dollar: emerging-market gains. Foreign holdings of local-currency debt of developing nations have swelled to near a record US$745 billion (RM2.8…

UMW still pursuing takeover offer for MBM Resources

PETALING JAYA: UWM Holdings Bhd is still not giving up on its take over bid for MBM Resources Bhd despite being rejected for the second time.

UMW said in a filing with the stock exchange that it remains open to discussions with MBM’s major shareholders Med-Bumikar Mara Sdn Bhd and Central Shore Sdn Bhd (CSSB).

“Notwithstanding the position taken by the board of directors of Med-Bumikar and CSSB, UMW remains interested to re-engage discussion should Med-Bumikar, CSSB and their shareholders wish to reconsider the MBM offer,” it noted.

On Monday, Med-Bumikar and CSSB warned against UMW engaging with its key principals, brand owners of the distributorship marque, after they reiterated their rejection of the takeover offer for MBM Resources for RM2.56 per share.

MBM holds dealerships for Perodua, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Volvo, Daihatsu and Hino brands.

CIMB partners Sompo for bancassurance

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Sompo Holdings (Asia) Pte Ltd have launched their bancassurance partnership in Malaysia, whereby CIMB will distribute Sompo’s non-life insurance solutions through its distribution network.

This Malaysian partnership forms part of the CIMB-Sompo regional partnership arrangement, which also includes Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

In Malaysia, CIMB Bank Bhd will market and distribute non-life insurance solutions underwritten by Sompo’s local operating entity Berjaya Sompo Insurance Bhd (BSIB) to the bank’s retail and commercial customers through its call centres, online platforms and 264 branches in Malaysia.

CIMB Bank will distribute Sompo’s non-life insurance protection for home, motor, personal belongings and travel to the retail segment. For the commercial segment, protection is offered under categories like group benefits, liability, engineering, property as well as marine credit.

“This synergistic CIMB-Sompo collaboration, coupled with both parties’ digital capabilities, is a step forward to further enrich CIMB’s value proposition to our 13 million customers across Asean,” said CIMB group CEO Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz in a statement.

Sompo president and managing director Yuji Kawauchi said the partnership allows Sompo to leverage CIMB’s brand presence and distribution network in the Asean region.

CIMB and Sompo also introduced an app-enabled Travel Care Insurance, available via CIMB Bank’s chat-banking app, Enhanced Virtual Assistant (EVA). This is the first time travel insurance could be purchased by Malaysian retail customers via a chat-banking app. Customers can buy their travel insurance via EVA in the second half of 2018. Travel insurance coverage can be purchased online at www.cimbbank.com.my/travelcare.