KUALA LUMPUR (NewsRise) - Shares in Singapore rose Monday, as U.S. President Donald Trump's plans for looser financial regulation sparked a rally in the city-state's heavyweight lenders. Malaysian equities also advanced, tracking Friday's rally on Wall Street.
Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index rose 0.5% at 3,056.91 points. DBS Group Holdings added 1.5% to S$18.93, and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and United Overseas Bank rose at least 0.6% each, as financial stocks across the globe gained after Trump on Friday signed an executive order for a review of the Dodd-Frank Act that was introduced after the global financial crisis in 2008 to tighten banking regulations.
StarHub slumped 6.7% to S$2.80 after it reported disappointing fourth quarter earnings late Friday. The telecommunication giant reported a 33% drop in net profit and signaled that quarterly dividend for 2017 is expected to S$0.04 per share, down from S$0.05 last year.
"In our view, the operating environment is set to intensify with TPG entering as the 4th telco in a saturated Singapore market, and we forecast for declining mobile revenue to persist," OCBC said in a note. It downgraded the stock to 'sell' from 'hold' with a fair value of S$2.65.
Global Logistic Properties rallied 4.6% to S$2.74. Late Friday, the company said it was evaluating several proposals as part of a strategic review, but has not entered any definitive transactions. GLP also said its CEO Ming Z Mei and non-executive director Fang Fenglei have recused themselves from board discussions due to their interest in some of the parties that submitted the proposals.
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI added 0.4% to 1,691.24. Axiata Group, extending its recent rally, added 2.6% to 5.08 ringgit, as unchallenging valuations and a narrower-than-expected 2016 loss at its Indonesian unit boosted the stock. Maxis rose 1.5% to 6.20 ringgit and DiGi.Com added 1% to 5.10 ringgit.
Sime Darby slipped 0.4% to 9 ringgit. Fitch Ratings said earlier today that the effect of the company's intended listing of its plantations and property units on the company's rating remains uncertain. The agency will reassess Sime Darby's credit profile once further details of the listings are announced.
Most Asian shares advanced today after U.S. stocks, led by financials, rose on Friday. The Nikkei Asia300 index was last up 0.7%.
Data released Friday showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls for January were better than expected, but average hourly wage growth was tepid and the unemployment rate edged higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9% on Friday, the S&P 500 added 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite ended 0.5% higher.
The dollar index, measured against a basket, remained under pressure amid expectations that the slowdown in wage growth will prompt the Federal Reserve to stand down on immediate rate increases.
"The diverging trend between payrolls and wage growth is creating concerns on which direction it would sway the Fed in their interest rate decisions," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG Markets.
--Nimesh Vora and Kevin Lim