Singapore, Malaysian shares extend fall tracking Wall Street losses
SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) - Stocks in Singapore and Malaysia extended declines on Thursday following a meltdown in U.S. equities on increasing concerns over President Donald Trump's ability to push through pro-growth policies.
U.S. stocks suffered the worst decline in eight months on Wednesday, pressured by mounting concerns that allegations of Trump interfering with a federal investigation will impede his ability to push through his economic agenda. Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who is at the center of the current turmoil, has been invited by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee to testify, the New York Times reported. The Nikkei Asia300 index lost 0.4%.
"A lot of speculation and a lot of noise about the U.S. political scene and investors and traders do what they know best in these times and rush for portfolio protection," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at Melbourne-based IG, wrote in a note. "This bout of risk aversion is certainly about a giant push back on the future of tax reform and Trump's ability to deliver (anything) has been dealt a massive blow given the level and magnitude of controversies in play."
Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index fell 0.1% to 3,221.66. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. dropped 0.4% and DBS Group Holdings lost 0.8% as safe-haven demand sent the U.S. 10-year bond yield to a one-month low. United Overseas Bank, however, bucked the weakness in financial stocks, rallying 0.9% after saying that it doesn't expect asset quality to deteriorate in 2017. The bank also said it expects new non-performing loans and specific allowances from oil and gas to be lower this year from a year earlier.
Singapore Telecommunications, the country's largest listed company by market capitalization, advanced 0.3% after posting a 2% increase in fiscal fourth-quarter net profit.
UOL Group fell 1.7% and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings lost 3.6%, the day's worst performers.
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI slipped 0.5% to 1,767.17, a two-week low, led by decline in banking and telecommunication stocks.
Axiata Group, Malaysia's biggest mobile operator, fell 3.1%, and DiGi.Com, the nation's third-largest, lost 0.6%. Among financials, AMMB Group Holdings and Hong Leong Financial Group fell at least 0.8% each.
IOI Corp. slipped 1.1%, extending Wednesday's decline after reporting that fiscal third-quarter net profit declined 58%.
Malaysian Resources Corp. fell 11.5% after proposing a one-for-one rights issue and warrants to raise 2.8 billion ringgit ($650 million).
UEM Sunrise, a property developer, rose 0.8% after reporting a profit of 61.27 million ringgit in March quarter, compared with 3.02 million ringgit a year ago.
Amway Malaysia Holdings, a consumer product distributor, fell 1.9% to 7.6 ringgit after reporting a 48% decline in net profit for the March quarter.
--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.