Thursday, 12 October 2017

Investing Alert: Malaysia, Singapore stocks fall ahead of Fed meeting minutes

Mobile phone companies drag KLCI index down, DBS, ComfortDelGro decline in STI

[SINGAPORE ] [KUALA LUMPUR ] Malaysia shares fell for a second consecutive day, weighed by a decline in mobile phone operators. Singapore stocks ended lower ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting minutes.

Investing Alert: Malaysia, Singapore stocks fall ahead of Fed meeting minutes

Investors shrugged off the positive cues from Wall Street overnight with the Dow Jones Industrial Average logging another all-time high. U.S. stocks have repeatedly reached record levels in recent sessions, buoyed by expectations of a cut in corporate taxes and upbeat manufacturing and services data.

The lackluster performance of equity markets in Malaysia and Singapore on Wednesday came ahead of the Fed releasing the minutes of its September meeting. Investors are looking for more cues on the outlook for the economy and on inflation from the document.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI declined 0.2% to 1,757.21. DiGi.Com dropped 2%, Telekom Malaysia lost 1.1%, and Axiata Group and Maxis declined by at least 0.6% each.

The Malaysian telecommunications regulator Wednesday invited bids from carriers to buy blocks of 700 Mhz spectrum for high-speed mobile phone services. The move comes as consumers in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy, where many own more than one mobile phone, are increasingly shifting to data-heavy offerings.

Operators are expected to vie aggressively for a slice of the spectrum that could push up bid prices and subsequently pressure cash flows, said AmInvestment Bank's analyst Alex Goh. While successfully securing 700 Mhz airwaves would not increase revenue directly, "it's a race that all players have to run, so that they can provide the best service quality to users," he said.

AWC, a provider of integrated facilities management, dropped 2.5% after it agreed to mutually terminate a contract worth 130 million ringgit ($30.8 million) with the Malaysian government.

Cuscapi, a software developer, declined 3% to 0.325 ringgit after saying it planned to raise 79.80 million ringgit selling 300 million shares and 60 million warrants.

Muhibbah Engineering (M) advanced 0.7% after it won an infrastructure works order worth 168 million ringgit. Hubline, engaged in shipping services, climbed 7.1% amid speculation the company will receive new government orders from the oil & gas sector in coming months.

Oil and gas services company KNM Group advanced 1.8%. Maybank Investment Bank said in a note that the company's Peterborough, U.K. power plant project is "finally" moving along after financing had been a major stumbling block in the past.

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