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Nikkei Markets

Malaysia, Singapore shares rebound on Wall Street tech gains

Real estate plays buoy Singapore, oil stocks gain in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) -- Malaysia and Singapore shares rebounded on Tuesday as strong overnight rally in technology stocks boosted Wall Street and lifted investor sentiment in Asia.

The FBM KLCI rose 1% to 1846.51, the second-biggest gainer in Asia for the day after Hong Kong, while the Straits Times Index ended 0.3% higher at 3,543.17. The Malaysian ringgit and Singaporean dollar each weakened slightly.

Malaysia will be shut on Wednesday for national elections. Prime Minister Najib Razak is widely-tipped to retain power, extending the National Front coalition's uninterrupted rule since Malaysia got independence from Britain in 1957.

"Our base case assumes that the current government stays in power," said Chetan Seth, Southeast Asia equities strategist at Nomura Securities. "As long as this scenario comes to fruition, I think markets should like it as it will ensure policy continuity."

The Nasdaq Composite Index ended 0.8% higher following glowing remarks from Berkshire Hathaway about technology companies such as Amazon and Google after the investing company bought some shares of Apple. Both Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 fell rose 0.4% each.

Oil prices fell ahead of an announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump later Tuesday regarding sanctions on Iran, although investors remained concerned about potential upside risk in U.S. shale oil production with rising oil rig count.

"Should the U.S. re-impose sanctions on Iran, this could lend support to crude oil prices in the near-term though we also note that the oil market's base case is now probably pricing in a Trump administration exit from the nuclear deal," OCBC Investment Research said in a note.

Oil-related stocks ended with mixed bag of performance. Conglomerate Keppel Corp. dropped 1.2% after announcing on Monday that two units will divest stake in Keppel Bay Property Development, which owns a residential township project in Shenyang city, for 503 million yuan ($79 million).

In Malaysia, Sapura Energy and Hibiscus Petroleum advanced 4.7% and 4.9% each. Dagang Nexchange, which owns a 30% stake in U.K.-based oilfield operator PING Petroleum, added 2.7%.

Pay-tv operator Astro Malaysia Holdings was the top gainer on the KLCI, rising nearly 4.0%, while RHB Bank was up 3.5%. Axiata Group, the country's largest telecom company by revenue, climbed 3.5%.

Three-A Resources plunged 7.6%. The company's first-quarter net profit dropped nearly 40% on-year, as rising raw material prices and foreign exchange losses squeezed profit margin.

In Singapore, portal SRX Property flash data on Tuesday showed private condominium resale prices rose 0.6% to a fresh high in April compared to March, although sales volume declined by 1.7%.

City Developments rose on the news, adding 1.1%. The counter is widely regarded by analysts as a proxy for investors looking to tap into the residential segment's recovery. Peer UOL Group rose 0.2%.

--Alexander Winifred and Joannah Perez

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