Global equities climb on hopeful trade talk vibes

LONDON, Feb 22 — World stock markets advanced today as investors awaited what they hoped will be encouraging news from US-China trade talks in Washington, dealers said. Europe’s key equity markets were up to around 0.5 per cent higher, building…

Bursa Malaysia ends lower on losses in key heavyweights

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Bursa Malaysia ended lower today on losses in key heavyweights as investors turned slightly more cautious amidst ongoing trade discussions between China and the United States. At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI…

US, China sketch outlines of deal to end trade war, say sources

WASHINGTON, Feb 22 — The United States and China have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending a seven-month trade war, according to sources…

APEC Secretariat wants deeper engagement in Chile meeting

KUALA LUMPUR: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat executive director Tan Sri Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria has called for its members to be more deeply engaged in the upcoming First APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting in Chile next week. She said the members may find difficulty achieving immediate solutions amid a very tense environment and global […]

US stocks dip on weak data from Europe, Japan

NEW YORK, Feb 21 — Wall Street stocks fell early today following lacklustre economic data from Japan and Europe while high-stakes trade talks between the United States and China resumed. About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial…

Palm oil industry to remain strong in 2019, says Sime Darby

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — The fundamentals of the palm oil industry will continue to be strong in 2019 as structural issues such as inventories, pricing and government policies, particularly the biodiesel mandate, are resolved, says Sime Darby…

Asian markets mixed after Fed minutes, eyes on trade talks

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed Thursday after the Federal Reserve left open the possibility it could lift interest rates this year, while investors kept an optimistic eye on China-US trade talks.

Equities and other risk assets have enjoyed a stellar start to the year on hopes for the negotiations as well as expectations the US central bank will slow its pace of monetary tightening – with some even tipping a cut – as growth both at home and globally slows.

On Wednesday, the Fed minutes showed its policy board was concerned about the outlook and trade tensions, and said US growth would “step down” from last year’s rapid pace.

It also said it expects to continue to wind down its balance sheet of securities and other assets – which helps keep borrowing costs down – but added “it was not yet clear” what rate moves “may be appropriate later this year”.

The minutes showed that there could be another hike if price pressures pick up.

Analysts said there was still a possibility of more increases in borrowing costs this year, after four in 2018.

“The debate is still focused on whether to tighten or not, and not whether to cut,“ said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC. “The risk is tilted in the direction of more tightening.”

In morning trade, Hong Kong was flat and Shanghai dipped 0.1% while Tokyo went into the break 0.1% lower.

Sydney rose 0.4%, Singapore slipped 0.2% and Seoul was off 0.3%. Wellington added 0.7%, Taipei was barely moved and Manila lost 0.5 percent.

‘Potentially ugly correction’

Focus is mainly on Washington where high-level diplomats from the world’s top two economies are looking to hammer out an agreement to resolve their nearly year-long trade row.

While there has been very little sign of progress, US President Donald Trump has insisted the talks are going “very well” and has indicated he could push back a deadline for a deal to be done, while investors remain upbeat.

However, observers warned of turmoil if expectations were not met.

“There’s a lot of optimism baked into global markets on the outcome of the negotiations and precisely zero detail on the actual result,“ said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“A suboptimal outcome could make for a potentially ugly correction in equities and currencies in particular.”

On currency markets, the pound extended Wednesday’s losses that came after Fitch warned it could slash Britain’s credit rating owing to the economic hit from a potential no-deal Brexit.

Adding to sterling’s weakness was Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to get a breakthrough in talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on revising their Brexit deal.

With just over a month until Britain leaves the bloc, May still has no agreement that she can push through parliament.

Adding to her woes was news that three MPs from her ruling Conservative party had quit over her handling of the issue. — AFP

Crunch time as high-level US-China trade talks resume

WASHINGTON, Feb 21 — With eight days left in their trade truce, top US and Chinese officials were due today to return to the daunting task of bridging a chasm between the world’s two largest economies. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly…

Bursa Malaysia ends higher on stronger buying demand

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended the day higher as stronger buying demand in heavyweights helped lift the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI).

At 5pm, the index finished 19.62 points higher at 1,726.18 from 1,706.56 at close yesterday.

After opening 6.27 points firmer at 1,712.83, the local index moved between 1,711.44 and 1,727.25 throughout the day.

A dealer said market sentiment was positive with investors optimistic that the latest round of trade talks between the world’s two giant economies would lead to a deal to resolve their tariff war.

“This positive sentiment is reflected in the stronger performance of Wall Street and spilled over into Asian stocks, with the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, up nearly one per cent to reach its highest level since Oct 2, 2018.

“On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index rose 4.16 points to 2,779.76, the Nasdaq Composite increased 14.36 points to 7,486.77 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 8.07 points better at 25,891.32,” he added.

Among local heavyweights, Maybank rose four sen to RM9.52, Public Bank and Tenaga gained six sen each to RM25.06 and RM13.38 respectively, while Petronas Chemicals surged 26 sen to RM9.15.

Of actives, Sapura Energy inched up 1.5 sen to 32.5 sen, Hibiscus Petroleum gained three sen to RM1.08 and Bumi Armada was one sen better at 22.5 sen.

Market breadth was positive with 724 gainers and 252 losers, while 346 counters remained unchanged, 532 untraded and 20 others suspended.

Total volume increased to 3.82 billion units valued at RM3.26 billion from 2.80 billion units valued at RM2.36 billion transacted yesterday.

The FBM Emas Index increased 170.21 points to 12,040.78, the FBMT 100 Index rose 166.37 points to 11,897.51 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index jumped 197.45 points to 12,041.45.

The FBM 70 rose 330.74 points to 14,486.38 and the FBM Ace Index increased 37.58 points to 4,699.69.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index added 117.28 points to 17,783.73, the Plantation Index rose 96.12 points to 7,498.56 and the Industrial Products and Services Index bagged 2.64 points to 168.49.

Main Market volume was higher at 2.78 billion shares valued at RM3.03 billion from 1.87 billion shares valued at RM2.18 billion recorded on Tuesday.

Warrants’ turnover rose to 741.67 million units worth RM162.26 million from 609.05 million units worth RM120.56 million yesterday.

Volume on the ACE Market decreased to 295.17 million shares worth RM68.74 million from 317.97 million shares worth RM55.18 million.

Consumer products and services accounted for 316.42 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (309.21 million), construction (236.86 million), technology (161.16 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (73.74 million), property (220.06 million), plantations (63.60 million), REITs (16.38 million), closed/fund (24,800), energy (1.19 billion), healthcare (41.44 million), telecommunications and media (67.56 million), transportation and logistics (35.28 million), and utilities (51.02 million). — Bernama

Bursa closes higher on buying sentiment

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Bursa Malaysia ended the day higher as stronger buying demand in heavyweights helped lift the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI). At 5pm, the index finished 19.62 points higher at 1,726.18…