May 19, 2017 7:21 pm JST

Singapore, Malaysia stocks post weekly losses as U.S. political turmoil damps risk appetite

SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore shares suffered their worst weekly fall this year, as risk appetite soured amid investor concerns over the fallout of the ongoing U.S. political turmoil. Malaysia stocks too declined for the week.

Risk assets fell out of favor and volatility increased this week as investors considered the possible ramifications of President Donald Trump's political woes on his ability to deliver on his economic promises. A report by the New York Times alleged the President tried to hold back former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey from probing Trump's previous national security advisor's links with Russia. Comey was fired by Trump last week. The President was already under the spotlight because of a report that he passed on classified information to Russia.

On Thursday, Trump denied the allegations that he had interfered with the investigation. In a Twitter post, he criticized the appointment of a new special counsel to investigate his campaign links with Russia, calling it "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history."

"For the markets, the impact from this damage control may be limited, and the focus will likely be on the potential appearance by Comey before the Congress," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at Melbourne-based IG.

The U.S Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee this week invited Comey to testify.

Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index fell 0.2% to 3,216.92 on Friday, extending its decline this week to 1.2%.

ComfortDelGro Corp. lost 10% this week, its worst performance since 2008, after its quarterly earnings missed estimates, prompting at least two brokerages to downgrade the stock. The shares ended unchanged at S$2.42 on Friday.

UOL Group fell 3% this week, weighed by broader market weakness and after the property developer reported a net income increase of 4% for the March quarter. The stock, however, rose 0.4% on Friday.

Genting Singapore was the best performer this week, rallying 6.5% after net income jumped 17 times in the first quarter. On Friday, the stock was unchanged at S$1.15.

Singapore Airlines slumped 7.3% on Friday after reporting a net loss of S$138.3 million ($99.5 million) as compared with a profit a year ago. Revenue was little changed at S$3.72 billion. The carrier paid a final dividend of 11 cents a share. Its total dividend for fiscal 2017 stood at 20 cents per share as compared with 45 cents in 2016. Since last Friday, the stock has fallen 7.6%.

Singapore airport services company SATS rose 1% on Friday to reverse accumulated losses for the week, after fourth-quarter profit increased 31.4% to S$66.6 million, thanks to contributions from overseas operations.

Global Logistic Properties, which operates warehouses and other logistics facilities around the world, rose 1% on Friday after reporting a 62% increase in fiscal fourth quarter net profit, helped by revaluation gains on its properties in Japan, U.S. and Brazil. The stock added 1.7% this week.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose less than 0.1% to 1,768.28 on Friday, helping it pare its decline this week to 0.4%. Gross domestic product in Southeast Asia's third-largest economy grew at a faster-than-expected 5.6% between January and March from a year earlier, the department of statistics said. That compares to the fourth quarter's 4.5% print and a median 4.8% on-year expansion estimate in a Nikkei Markets poll of analysts.

Also on Friday, Malaysia's balance of payments data showed surplus on current account narrowing to 5.3 billion ringgit ($1.2 billion) in the first quarter compared with 12.5 billion ringgit in the previous quarter.

IHH Healthcare was the worst performing stock this week on the KLCI, falling 2.7%. On Friday, the stock closed 0.3% lower. After market close, the hospital operator reported net profit in the first quarter doubled to 470 million ringgit.

IOI Corp. fell 0.4% on Friday to extend its losses for the week to 2.4%. The plantation major reported a 58% decline in fiscal third-quarter profit on Tuesday.

Petronas Dagangan rose 2.8% on Friday after first-quarter profit rose by 15.4%. For the week, the stock rose 3.2%.

Petronas Gas rose 2.2% this week, after reporting a 3.6% rise in net income for the first quarter. The shares were little changed at 19 ringgit on Friday.

SIG Gases jumped 5.1% on Friday after Focus Malaysia newspaper reported, citing a person it didn't identify, that Germany's Linde Group, which plans to invest about 2 billion ringgit in Malaysia within five years, could buy a stake in company.

Tambun Indah Land fell 2.6% to 1.49 ringgit on Friday after JF Apex Securities downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy," on lower new property sales and earnings assumption. It kept the target price at 1.64 ringgit a share.

--Nimesh Vora and Kevin Lim

--Nikkei Markets is a real-time financial news service for South East Asia's markets published by Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd, a Nikkei and NewsRise joint venture company. Nikkei Markets provides wide companies coverage in the region, including the Nikkei's Asia300 companies.

Asia300

ComfortDelGro Corp. Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(C52)
Sector:
Industry:
Transportation
Other Transportation
Market cap(USD): 3,775.78M
Shares: 2,161.87M
Asia300

UOL Group Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(U14)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Real Estate Development
Market cap(USD): 3,985.21M
Shares: 804.94M
Asia300

Singapore Airlines Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(C6L)
Sector:
Industry:
Transportation
Airlines
Market cap(USD): 8,642.11M
Shares: 1,199.85M

IOI Corp. Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(1961)
Sector:
Industry:
Process Industries
Agricultural Commodities/Milling
Market cap(USD): 6,775.15M
Shares: 6,461.82M
Asia300

IHH Healthcare Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(5225)
Sector:
Industry:
Health Services
Hospital/Nursing Management
Market cap(USD): 11,437.9M
Shares: 8,236.26M

Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(5681)
Sector:
Industry:
Energy Minerals
Oil Refining/Marketing
Market cap(USD): 5,693.3M
Shares: 993.45M

Petronas Gas Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(6033)
Sector:
Industry:
Industrial Services
Oil & Gas Pipelines
Market cap(USD): 8,701.75M
Shares: 1,978.73M

Get Insights on Asia In Your Inbox

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Get your first month for $0.99

Redeemable only through the Subscribe button below

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.