Malaysia stocks rise after Trump speech, Singapore Slips
KUALA LUMPUR (NewsRise) - Malaysian shares rose Thursday, following a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar after President-elect Donald Trump refrained from providing details on future fiscal policies at a news conference yesterday.
Malaysia's FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 0.2% to 1,679.17 to a three-month high. British American Tobacco Malaysia was the top performer on the 30-stock gauge, rallying for a fifth consecutive session to end 2.6% higher at 47.80 ringgit, as the cigarette maker continued to recover after losing one-fifth of its value last year.
Stocks in Singapore gave up early gains to end lower as investors consolidated gains after the benchmark index rose for six out of the last seven sessions.
Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index ended 0.3% lower at 2,992.62 points, after having risen as much as 0.7% intraday. Global Logistic Properties surged 4% to S$2.61, its highest level since June 2015 after Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Warburg Pincus was forming a consortium to bid for the company. CapitaLand Commercial Trust was amongst the major losers, slipping 0.6% to S$3.31, posting its first daily loss this year.
U.S. bond yields and the dollar slipped after Trump, who assumes office on Jan. 20, provided little cues about fiscal spending plans at his first official press conference yesterday. The dollar index was headed for a second day of losses on Thursday and the U.S. 10-year yield fell to over one-month lows.
U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar had risen to multi-year highs in the weeks since Trump's victory amid hopes his policies will boost growth and quicken inflation in the world's largest economy, and nudge interest rates higher. U.S. stocks have also risen to record highs over the last two months.
"Financial markets have soared and optimism has risen, but we may be seeing the dawn of the Trump-inspired volatility, a symptom expected pre-elections," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG markets. "Anticipation had built up ahead of the conference, but an apparent lack of mentions (of Trump's economic plans) weighed on the dollar."
The ringgit rose 0.3% to 4.457 to the dollar, touching a one-month high and chalking up its best single session performance since early December. The advance in the ringgit, amongst the worst performing Asian currencies since Trump's victory, also lifted local sentiment.
The Singapore dollar was little changed at 1.426.
In other Southeast Asian markets, Indonesia slipped 0.2%, Thailand lost 0.3% and shares in the Philippines fell 0.8%. In the rest of Asia, South Korea rose 0.6%, while Hong Kong lost 0.5% and China was down 0.6%. Japan, hurt by yen's strength against the dollar, declined 1.2%.
Singapore's Keppel Corp said after market close yesterday that it had entered into an agreement to divest all its shareholding interest in an Indonesian unit for 529 billion Indonesian rupiah ($39.8 million), adding that the transaction was not expected to add any material impact on its earnings per share. The stock ended unchanged at S$6.13.
Malayan Banking ended slightly higher, adding 0.1% to 8.31 ringgit. Earlier today, Malaysia's largest lender by assets said its Indonesian unit plans to sell holdings in WOM Finance to Reliance Capital Management for 229.08 million ringgit ($51 million).
--Nimesh Vora and Kevin Lim