SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) - Stocks in Malaysia and Singapore fell Wednesday, tracking overnight losses in Wall Street after the U.S. Senate delayed a vote on a healthcare bill, causing new doubts about President Donald Trump's economic agenda.
U.S. indexes declined overnight, with the S&P 500 chalking up its worst single-day performance in about six weeks. Investors were concerned that a delay in the healthcare bill vote would further cast a cloud on Trump's ability to deliver on his pro-growth agenda. Comments from Federal Reserve Board Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer flagging risks related to increasing asset prices, including equities, also damped sentiment. Losses in technology shares weighed on the broader markets as the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.6%.
"While the IT sector had been the one dragging down U.S. markets, the decline has truly been broad-based," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at Melbourne-based brokerage IG. "It certainly looks as if an amalgamation of factors gathered to take a toll on prices with caution from the Fed layered upon by a delay to the healthcare bill vote."
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI, opening after a four-day extended weekend, slipped 0.5% to 1,771.23. Genting Malaysia, up almost 5% in the previous session, was the biggest loser with a 4.1% decline. Its parent Genting dropped 2.3%.
Maxis fell 0.5%. Malaysia's second-largest mobile phone operator by revenue said it had received a letter from U Mobile for the termination of Network Sharing and Alliance Agreement for 3G radio access network. The termination will take place in stages over a period of 18 months with completion on Dec. 27, 2018, it said.
Engineering company Gamuda rose 0.6% to 5.48 ringgit after reporting a 12% increase in net profit for the fiscal third quarter. Revenues jumped 80%.
TA Securities upgraded the stock to "buy" from "sell" and raised the target price to 6 ringgit from 5.49 ringgit, citing opportunities in construction industry in the next two to three years translating to stronger contribution from the construction division.
Bumi Armada jumped 4.2% to 0.75 ringgit after its client for Armada Kraken floating production storage and offloading vessel - EnQuest - announced achievement of first oil from Kraken Development.
UOB Kay Hian raised the target price to 1.01 ringgit from 0.92 ringgit, keeping the "buy" rating. "We are positive and expect this announcement to boost share price closer to our fair value as Kraken is the last among the four new floating projects to start operations in 2017 and this will address one of the last remaining major investor concerns overhanging the stock," it said. With all new projects being put into operation, 2017 is set to be the turnaround year, UOB said.
Berjaya Land added 1.1% after swinging to a net profit of 88.57 million ringgit ($20.6 million) for the fiscal fourth quarter.
Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index fell 0.1% to 3,215.70. A rise in U.S. bond yields overnight dragged down most real estate related stocks. U.S. bond yields followed higher European borrowing costs after the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted at a possibility of a less accommodative monetary policy.
Interest rates in the city-state tend to follow the direction set in the U.S. as the Monetary Authority of Singapore does not set benchmark rates, but targets the exchange rate instead. CapitaLand fell 0.6% and Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust lost 1.5%, pacing declines in Real Estate Investment Trusts.
CDL Hospitality Trusts fell 3%. The company said late Tuesday that it had acquired Pullman Hotel Munich and its retail components for 98.9 million euro ($86.8 million).
--Nimesh Vora and Kevin Lim