April 20, 2017 8:21 pm JST

Singapore stocks post first gain in five days, Malaysia shares advance on regional cues

SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore shares, tracking a rebound in most regional indices, advanced for the first time in five days on Thursday with banking stocks leading the gains. Equities in Malaysia also edged higher.

The Nikkei Asia300 index, after declining in the three previous sessions amid concerns over tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, added 0.6% on Thursday. Most Asian markets rose despite lackluster cues from Wall Street overnight. Some traders said investor concerns over geopolitical risks may have lessened a bit as demand for safe-haven assets has eased.

"Bond selling and easing precious metals prices suggest global investor sentiment is receding from the risk-averse high water mark hit this week," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, wrote in a note.

Gold prices were down 0.2%, adding to Wednesday's 0.8% fall. The 10-year U.S. bond yields rose on Thursday, after rising by two basis points overnight.

Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index rose 0.4% to 3,137.88. United Overseas Bank and DBS Group Holdings, down at least 2.2% each in the prior four trading days, rose 1% and 0.6% respectively. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. added 0.7%, after falling 1.8% for four days through Wednesday.

Keppel Corp. and Sembcorp Marine shed 1.4% each, after a 3.5% slump in Brent crude prices overnight following a less-than-expected decline in U.S crude stockpiles and a buildup in gasoline inventories. After market hours, Keppel reported a first-quarter net income of S$260.4 million ($186.4 million), a 23% increase from the year-earlier period.

Singapore Exchange fell 0.4%. After markets, the company reported a 7% decline in net profit for the fiscal third-quarter.

Jardine Cycle & Carriage rose 1.9% after its Indonesian unit Astra International posted a 63.5% rise in first-quarter profit and a 16.5% growth in revenue. It attributed the increases to higher market share in the car and motorcycle markets, a recovery in coal prices, and higher crude palm-oil prices and production.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose 0.2% to 1,741.61, with financial stocks leading the advances. AMMB Holdings rose 2% and RHB Bank added 3.1%. Hong Leong Financial Group gained 0.8%.

Public Bank, Malaysia's third-largest lender by assets, was unchanged at 19.92 ringgit after reporting a net income growth of 1.6% in the first quarter from a year earlier thanks to higher net interest income and better Islamic banking business.

Sapura Energy slipped 0.5% and Bumi Armada was down 2%, weighed by the overnight fall in crude oil.

Property developer Magna Prima rose 1.5%. It had rallied more than 6% earlier in the day after Hua Yang said that its unit proposed to acquire an additional 20% stake. Hua Yang rose 1%.

Kenanga Investment Bank raised Hua Yang to "outperform" and increased the target price to 1.31 ringgit from 1.23 ringgit previously. The deal will help Hua Yang replenish their land bank in Klang Valley, Kenanga said, adding that Magna Prima could potentially contribute an additional 20% income to Hua Yang's fiscal 2017 earnings.

SCC Holdings surged 11% after proposing a 10-for-one bonus issue and also a share split to enhance the stock's liquidity.

--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

United Overseas Bank Ltd. (Singapore)

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(U11)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Regional Banks
Market cap(USD): 27,552.68M
Shares: 1,669.41M
Asia300

DBS Group Holdings Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(D05)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Regional Banks
Market cap(USD): 37,693.30M
Shares: 2,562.05M
Asia300

Keppel Corp. Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(BN4)
Sector:
Industry:
Producer Manufacturing
Industrial Conglomerates
Market cap(USD): 8,138.75M
Shares: 1,817.91M
Asia300

Singapore Exchange Ltd.

Singapore

Market(Ticker): SES(S68)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Investment Banks/Brokers
Market cap(USD): 5,707.90M
Shares: 1,071.64M
Asia300

Public Bank Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(1295)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Regional Banks
Market cap(USD): 18,439.74M
Shares: 3,882.13M
Asia300

Sapura Energy Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(5218)
Sector:
Industry:
Industrial Services
Oilfield Services/Equipment
Market cap(USD): 2,192.61M
Shares: 5,992.15M

Magna Prima Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(7617)
Sector:
Industry:
Industrial Services
Engineering & Construction
Market cap(USD): 117.01M
Shares: 334.71M

Hua Yang Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(5062)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Real Estate Development
Market cap(USD): 86.96M
Shares: 352M

SCC Holdings Bhd.

Malaysia

Market(Ticker): KLS(0158)
Sector:
Industry:
Distribution Services
Wholesale Distributors
Market cap(USD): 21.63M
Shares: 42.77M

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