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Nikkei Markets

Malaysia, Singapore shares rise for first time in seven sessions

Asian equities rebound as U.S. yields retreat from multi-year highs

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) - Malaysia and Singapore shares Friday rose for the first time in seven sessions tracking a broad rebound across Asia, after U.S. government bond yields pulled away from recent multi-year highs.

The Straits Times Index ended 0.7% higher at 3069.17 as Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp led gains of banking stocks in Singapore. The FBM KLCI meanwhile closed 1.3% higher at 1730.74 amid rise in utilities and financial services firms. Petronas Gas rose 7.2% and CIMB Group Holdings gained 5.1%.

"Investors are mainly going for defensive stocks as there's increased volatility in markets," said Goh Kay Chong, a broker at S.J. Securities in Kuala Lumpur. "This underscores the caution over any potential further drop in global stocks."

The Nikkei Asia300 Index climbed 2.6% Friday following an eight-day losing streak. Gains in Asia came after yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell nine basis points to 3.131% on Thursday after rising to seven-year highs in recent sessions.

Rising U.S. borrowing costs amid bets the Federal Reserve will further raise interest rates and an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China have driven recent losses for Asian equities.

Singapore's central bank on Friday tightened monetary policy for the second time this year even as concerns about the impact of U.S.-China trade war continue to mount. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it will let the Singapore dollar rise at a faster pace against its trade weighted basket.

Separately, advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry released Friday showed Singapore's economy grew by 2.6% in the third quarter from a year ago, slowing from the 4.1% pace recorded in the second quarter.

"We maintain our expectations for Singapore's economy to face continued challenges from a prolonged trade conflict between the U.S. and China, rising interest rates, and existing curbs on the housing market," Fitch Solutions said in a note. The deceleration in GDP growth "reflected weakness in the export-oriented manufacturing sector, which we expect to persist."

United Overseas Bank added 0.3% after falling for four consecutive days. UOB is reviewing its insurance business, including an existing partnership with Prudential Plc, Bloomberg reported. DBS Group Holdings rose 0.5%.

Hot-rolled steel coil maker Delong Holdings slumped 4.9% in Singapore as trading resumed after the company said a buyout offer of S$7 per share by Chief Executive Ding Liguo's investment vehicle was withdrawn.

In Malaysia, Barakah Offshore Petroleum added 8.3% after the oil and gas services firm secured a five-year maintenance, construction and modification contract from Hess Exploration and Production Malaysia.

Revenue Group rose 7.6% after the payment firm proposed to issue bonus warrants on a one-for-two-shares basis.

Construction firm Kerjaya Prospek Group rose 4.5% after signing an agreement to buy 90% stake in Yakin Land for 1.35 million ringgit. Kerjaya Prospek plans to build two 36-floor blocks of condominiums slated for completion in Sep 2022.

- Alexander Winifred and Suzannah Benjamin

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