Saturday, April 21st, 2018


US regulator permits China’s ZTE to submit more evidence

NEW YORK, April 21 — The US Commerce Department has granted ZTE Corp’s request to submit more evidence after the agency banned American companies from selling to the Chinese technology firm, a senior Commerce official said today. The US Commerce…

Centeno says sides closer as Greece’s creditors mull debt relief

BRUSSELS, April 21 — Greece’s creditors are getting closer on a deal to ease the country’s debt burden, according to Eurogroup President Mario Centeno. Greece’s €86-billion (RM413.2-billion) bailout programme is set to run out in August,…

PokerStars owner to buy UK’s Sky Betting in US$4.7b deal

LONDON, April 21 — The Stars Group Inc agreed to buy Sky Betting & Gaming in a deal valued at US$4.7 billion (RM18.3 billion), the biggest acquisition yet by Chief Executive Officer Rafi Ashkenazi as the owner of PokerStars moves to create…

HNA cuts Deutsche Bank stake, vows to remain a major investor

FRANKFURT, April 21 — Deutsche Bank AG’s biggest shareholder cut its stake in the lender, it disclosed today, after saying in February that another reduction wasn’t planned. HNA Group Co, a troubled Chinese conglomerate, reduced its holdings…

Foreign inflows into Bursa Malaysia hit one-year high: Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign fund inflows into Bursa Malaysia as of last Thursday hit the highest in one year at RM429.80 million, according to caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

He said under the Barisan Nasional's (BN) leadership, the record was successfully achieved despite the dissemination of fake news on the country's economy.

“The opposition continues to spread fake news on the nation's economy, foreign investors and fund managers continue to be confident on Malaysia and BN's economic policies.

“Up to Thursday, the foreign fund inflows into Bursa Malaysia breached the highest in one year, at RM429.80 million,” Najib said on his Twitter account today.

It was reported earlier that the net inflows were 389.35% higher than RM87.83 million recorded on Wednesday.

For the week-to-date, Bursa Malaysia recorded total net inflows of RM560.96 million.

In Asia, Malaysia ranked third after China and India to have received the highest foreign inflows year-to-date at RM3.4 billion.

Najib also said that as at April 13 this year, Bank Negara Malaysia's international reserves amounted to US$110.0 billion (US$1=RM3.90).

According to him, this was another piece of evidence of the confidence in the country's economic standing and the effectiveness of the BN government's economic policies.

In a statement recently, the central bank said the US$110 billion reserves were higher as compared with US$107.8 billion as at March 30, 2018.

The reserves position was sufficient to finance 7.7 months of retained imports and was 1.1 times the short-term external debt, it said. — Bernama

General Electric shares rise despite 1Q loss on hefty legal charge

NEW YORK: Slumping industrial conglomerate General Electric won a reprieve on Wall Street Friday after reporting strong results in some divisions even as it suffered a quarterly loss due to a hefty legal charge.

GE, which has been hurt by weakness in its power and oil and gas businesses, reported a first-quarter loss of US$1.2 billion, due to US$1.5 billion in reserves to cover legal settlements connected to a subprime lending unit it exited.

However, investors took heart after GE reaffirmed its full-year financial targets and avoided fresh negative surprise announcements that have plagued recent results.

Revenues increased 6.7% to US$28.7 billion.

“The first quarter is a step forward in executing on our 2018 plan and we are seeing signs of progress,” said chief executive John Flannery.

GE has been signaling for months that its encumbered power division would be an earnings vulnerability for some time to come, but Flannery said Friday that the outlook was even worse than previously thought.

The company now expects the overall market for new gas turbine orders to be less than 30 gigawatts, compared with the prior estimate of 30 to 34. Factors driving the weakness include the rising share of renewable energy, energy efficiency efforts and some delays in orders, Flannery said.

Since Flannery became CEO last summer, GE has trimmed costs, streamlined its board, cut its dividend and revamped employee compensation. The company also has announced plans to sell US$20 billion in industrial assets.

Flannery reaffirmed he is open to further overhauling GE, raising speculation of a breakup of the company.

“There's no sacred cows,” he said during a conference call with analysts. “We're reviewing a number of structures. We're working through this right now in great detail with the board, including new board members.”

GE was the biggest gainer in the Dow, rising 3.9% to US$14.54.

Oil rebound?

GE's other problem division of late, oil and gas, could be poised for a turnaround in the foreseeable future due to strengthening oil prices. Major producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia signaled Friday they plan to extend a production accord to defend higher oil prices.

Baker Hughes, an oil services company in which GE holds a majority stake, offered an upbeat outlook when it reported results Friday, saying “market fundamentals remain supportive” due to stable oil prices.

GE scored higher profits compared with the year-ago period in four divisions, including healthcare and aviation, which have been the strongest businesses.

GE has previously signaled that it expected additional legal costs connected to WMC.

In a February US securities filing, the company said it believed the US Department of Justice would assert the company violated US law “in connection with WMC's origination and sale of subprime mortgage loans in 2006 and 2007.”

GE chief financial officer Jamie Miller said the company set aside the US$1.5 billion in reserves “based on our discussions with the DOJ and a review of settlements by other banks.”

CFRA Research analyst Jim Corridore praised some aspects of GE's performance and noted that it exceeded its cost-cutting targets. But he cut his earnings estimate and share price target.

“Given the severity of the downturns at oil & gas and power, and ongoing losses from GE Capital, we do not think it's worth wading into the shares despite the below-market valuation,” Corridore said in a note.

JPMorgan Chase analyst Stephen Tusa also cautioned against euphoria over the results.

“Bottom line, unlike the past several quarters that were undeniably weak, this has something for everyone so there will be more debate, but we don't see a turn in fundamentals as supporting upside,” he said in a note.

“There is plenty to play out here including the ongoing potential for downside to 2018 expectations and degree of dilution from ongoing asset sales.” — AFP

US$1 = RM3.90

Australian business tax breaks at risk over bank inquiry

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IMF: Venezuela’s collapse one of the worst in modern history

WASHINGTON, April 21 — Venezuela’s economic collapse ranks as one of the worst in modern history, an International Monetary Fund official said yesterday. With an expected contraction of 15 per cent this year, and 45 per cent over the last five…

China’s ZTE slams US ban, says company’s survival at risk

HONG KONG, April 21 — China’s ZTE Corp said yesterday that a US ban on selling parts and software to the company was unfair and threatens its survival, and the mobile phone and telecommunications equipment maker vowed to safeguard its interests…

A US recession ahead? Fed policymakers say not to worry

CHICAGO, April 21 — As the gap between short- and long-term borrowing costs hovers near its lowest in more than 10 years, speculation has risen over whether the so-called yield curve is signalling that a recession could be around the corner. Not…