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.
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.