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Asia300

China factory data steers Singapore shares higher; Malaysia stocks little changed

SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore shares rose Wednesday after better-than-expected factory activity data from China allayed concerns about a slowdown in Asia's largest economy. Malaysian shares were little changed.

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for May came in steady at 51.2, ahead of the 51 print economists polled by Reuters were expecting. Official services PMI rose to 54.5 this month from 54 in April. The numbers follow softer-than-expected readings for April. China is Singapore's largest trading partner.

"The Chinese numbers provided a positive lead that could see the local Straits Times Index maintain above the 3,200 levels," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at Melbourne-based IG, a brokerage.

Singapore's FTSE Straits Times index rose 0.2% to 3,210.82. Thai Beverage, down 10% this month through Tuesday after earnings missed estimates, rose 4.2%. Golden Agri-Resources added 1.4% after shedding over 6% in the last two sessions without an apparent trigger.

Singapore Technologies Engineering rose 1.1%. The company said its aerospace arm injected additional capital of $21.5 million into its pilot training unit, ST Aerospace Academy.

Singapore Exchange slipped 1.5%. The bourse operator and Infocomm Media Development Authority on Wednesday agreed to streamline listings for fast growing, IMDA-accredited companies. SGX and IMDA want to "lower the access barriers for technology companies into the capital markets, catalyze more high-tech IPOs and increase Singapore's attractiveness as a venue for capital-raising," they said in a joint statement.

Telecommunications services company TeleChoice International lost 1.9% after mobile operator StarHub said it will not extend or renew the company's logistics agreement when it expires on June 30. The expiry of the contract will not have more than a single-digit percent negative impact on TeleChoice's earnings per share for the year ending Dec. 31, the company said. Shares of StarHub fell 0.4%.

Singapore consumer electronics and warehousing company TT International fell 2.3% after reporting a wider net loss for the fiscal year ended Mar. 31, hurt by weaker sales by overseas subsidiaries.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI rose less than 0.1% to 1,765.87. AMMB Holdings rose 2.2% after reporting a 20% increase in net profit for the fiscal fourth quarter. Other financials also rose. Malayan Banking added 0.9% and CIMB Group Holdings advanced 2.2%. Hong Leong Financial Group advanced 1.7%.

Genting Malaysia fell 2.6% to 5.61 ringgit, extending Tuesday's slump after core earnings came in marginally below estimates. Mobile operators declined, paced by a 4% fall in Maxis.

DRB-HICOM rose 2% after fiscal fourth-quarter net loss narrowed by 58% and revenues increased by 32.2%.

Offshore oil and gas services company Bumi Armada added 4% after net profit rose more than two times in the first quarter, due to the absence of an impairment charge from a year earlier as well as higher share of results from joint ventures.

Malaysia's largest sugar refiner by volume, MSM Malaysia Holdings, dropped 2.7% after saying it swung into a net loss in the first quarter as a fall in Malaysian ringgit boosted raw material costs. The company recorded a net loss of 34.62 million ringgit ($8.09 million) for the three months ended Mar. 31 compared with a net profit of 59.34 million ringgit a year ago.

Sime Darby fell 0.2%. The company said Wednesday its net profit for the fiscal third quarter increased by 5.4%.

Fajarbaru Builder Group rose 2.7% after fiscal third-quarter net profit jumped nearly 8-fold and revenues more than doubled.

Chocolate and cocoa maker Guan Chong fell 5% after first-quarter net profit slumped 58%.

Construction engineering company Mudajaya Group fell 2.6% after swinging to a loss of 6.76 million ringgit in the first 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.

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