Saturday, September 1st, 2018


Italy, after Fitch cuts outlook, vows to respect EU commitments

ROME, Sept 1 — Italy will respect European Union budget commitments and address the concerns of credit ratings agencies like Fitch — which cut the outlook for Italian debt — with concrete policy choices in coming weeks, the economy minister…

Agreement on world’s biggest trade deal set for November, Singapore says

SINGAPORE, Sept 1 — Singapore’s trade minister said today that broad agreement on the world’s biggest trade deal should be reached at a summit of leaders from participating nations in the city-state in November, six years since talks began….

MAHB: Langkawi Airport expansion will boost passenger growth

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is confident that the expansion of the Langkawi International Airport (LGK) will further facilitate its passenger growth. Acting Group Chief Executive Officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin…

US stocks hold onto gains amid tense US-Canada talks

NEW YORK: Wall Street held steady Friday as investors remained cautious ahead of a long weekend amid a tense showdown between the United States and Canada in trade talks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite managed a 0.26% gain, to 8,109.54, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed a bare 0.09% to 25,964.82 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose a miniscule 0.01% to 2,901.52.

After spending much of the session in negative territory, stocks managed to hold onto gains earned early in the week, as traders headed out for a three-day weekend for the Labor Day holiday.

“There is nobody around. The whole parking lot is empty here,” quipped Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors.

“Today does not mean very much. The most important thing is this little tiff with Canada. We'll have a better idea where we stand next week, when people come back to the office,” Ogg said.

After claiming a deal earlier this week on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico, President Donald Trump continued to pressure Canada to bow to US terms on their side of the pact.

“We will resume negotiations next week,” a Canadian official close to the talks said, after Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was seen leaving US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's offices in Washington.

Lighthizer said the White House had informed Congress Friday that it intends to sign a new free trade deal with Mexico — and possibly with Canada — within 90 days.

Among major movers Friday, struggling General Electric jumped 1.3% and CISCO also gained 1.3%. Nike added 1.2%.

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev lost 2.5%, and Ford shed 2.3%. — AFP

Cautious sentiment to weigh on bursa next week By Zairina Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — The downtrend momentum on Bursa Malaysia will likely continue next week with investors staying cautious as worries over global trade dispute return, a dealer said. He said as the corporate earnings season has come to an end,…

Ringgit to trade sideways against US dollar next week

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is likely to trade sideways with a downside bias against the US dollar next week, a dealer said.

MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Chief Economist Dr Kamaruddin Mohd Nor said the ringgit movement was influenced by the strengthening US dollar amid the US-China trade tensions over the past few months.

“Nevertheless, we expect the ringgit to have a breather next week with a target trading range of between 4.08 and 4.10.

“Positive sentiment brought about by the new deals surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement, favourable commodity prices, and expectation of good external trade numbers which is due next week could lend support for the local currency,” he told Bernama.

Meanwhile, Oanda Head of Trading Asia-Pacific Stephen Innes said the ringgit remained in buy on dips mode as most of the speculative action was dollar buying.

“The traders stay on sidelines ahead of the Bank Negara Malaysia's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Sept 5, awaiting market direction. A dovish MPC statement could see a knee-jerk demand for greenback,” he said.

On a Thursday-to-Friday basis, the local note fell to 4.1080/1110 against the greenback from 4.1070/1100 last week.

Against other major currencies, the ringgit traded mostly lower, except against the Japanese yen, where it rose to 3.6820/6863 from 3.6851/6887 last week.

It declined against the Singapore dollar to 3.0073/1100 from 2.9950/9980, fell against the British pound to 5.3462/3525 from 5.2668/2723 and was lower against the euro at 4.8055/8099 from 4.7502/7553.

The market was closed yesterday for the Merdeka Day celebration. — Bernama

Cautious sentiment to weigh on Bursa Malaysia next week

KUALA LUMPUR: The downtrend momentum on Bursa Malaysia will likely continue next week with investors staying cautious as worries over global trade dispute return, a dealer said.

He said as the corporate earnings season has come to an end, external developments, especially on trade, would have a major influence in the trading pattern.

“Fears on global trade outlook will continue to haunt equities. If risk appetite shy away, the stock markets, not only Malaysia but also at the global stage, will be under pressure again,” he told Bernama.

It was reported that US President Donald Trump wants to press ahead with his plan to slap tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports as soon as a public comment period concludes next week.

The dealer noted that the sensitivity around trade would cause an imbalance in the foreign exchange (forex) market, thus elevating US dollar and other safe-haven currencies.

Argentina peso already took the hit, nearly losing a fifth of its value on forex markets on Friday before its central bank announced a drastic decision to hike interest rate by 60% in order to shore up the currency.

For the week just ended, Bursa Malaysia traded higher at between 1,804.89 and 1,826.9, tracking the bullish Wall Street's performance before snapping its four-day winning streak on Thursday due to US-China trade jitters.

In the first two days, the local market moved positively and closed at a three-month high but retreated on Wednesday as market players reacted to Trump's aggressive comments on trade and tariffs.

Bank Islam chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said foreign funds were net sellers on Thursday at RM122.6 million after experiencing net inflows earlier of the week.

He said foreign funds were still fragile at this juncture, but generally, the trend had improved since May.

“Thus far, earnings from plantation and telco companies were less inspiring and could drag the (composite index) FBM KLCI.

“However, export-oriented industries such as rubber gloves, banks and consumers could provide strong support to the key index,” he said, adding that the support and resistance level is now located at 1,805 and 1,839, respectively.

The local market was closed on Friday for the National Day holiday.

Comparing to last Friday, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI settled 11.07 points firmer at 1,819.66 on Thursday.

The FBM Emas Index fell 22.07 points to 12,719.42 and the FBMT100 Index slipped 2.38 points to 12,526.43.

The FBM 70 gave up 299.32 points for 15,126.05 and the FBM Emas Syariah Index decreased 74.72 points to 12,807.07, while the FBM Ace dipped 151.39 points to 5,283.71.

On a sectoral basis, the Finance Index surged 280.24 points to 17,964.97, but the Plantation Index fell 67.77 points to 7,577.58, while the Industrial Index eased 17.3 points to 3,221.96.

Weekly turnover increased to 10.65 billion units worth RM9.9 billion from 9.65 billion units valued at RM9.15 billion previously.

Main market volume rose to 6.81 billion shares worth RM9.05 billion compared with 6.64 billion shares valued at RM8.32 billion.

Warrants turnover improved to 1.8 billion units worth RM488.26 million from 1.69 billion units valued at RM444.85 million.

The ACE market volume widened sharply to 2.03 billion shares valued at RM360.64 million versus 1.31 billion shares valued at RM379.24 million.

The gold futures contract on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives is expected to trend lower next week on weaker demand.

Phillip Futures Sdn Bhd Derivative Dealer Chang Hui Ying said Bursa Malaysia gold is also expected to trade in a range bound, tracking the performance of the US Commodity Exchange (COMEX) gold prices.

“Investors are keenly watching the psychological U$1,200 level of COMEX gold's support. If it is broken we expect a downtrend in Bursa Malaysia gold as well,” he told Bernama.

Chang said traders would also continue to look for clues from US economic data on the direction of the US interest rates.

The strengthening of the greenback on expectations of the US interest rate increases would pressure gold prices downward, he added

On a Thursday-to-Friday basis, August 2018 rose 32 ticks to RM158.9 a gramme, while September 2018, October 2018 and November 2018 added 35 ticks each to RM159.30, RM159.65 and RM160 a gramme, respectively.

Weekly turnover for the holiday-shortened week rose to 11 lots worth RM173,985 from six lots worth RM94,430 in the previous week.

Open interest declined to 37 contracts from 43 contracts.

Bursa Malaysia and its derivatives was closed on Friday for the Merdeka Day holiday. — Bernama

Dollar rises for second day as US, Canada end talks with no deal

NEW YORK, Sept 1 — The dollar climbed for a second straight session yesterday as investors sought the safety of the US currency after reports that the United States and Canada ended trade negotiations without any deal. The greenback is on track to…

Wall St mixed as US-Canada trade talks end

NEW YORK, Sept 1 — The S&P 500 ended flat while the Dow edged down and the Nasdaq closed higher in light trading yesterday as Canada and the United States concluded trade talks without resolution ahead of the Labour Day weekend. Capping a…

US to move ahead with Mexico trade pact, keep talking to Canada

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 — Contentious US-Canada trade talks ended yesterday with no deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement after the mood soured, and President Donald Trump notified Congress of his intent to sign a bilateral trade pact…