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Nikkei Markets

Malaysia shares end three-day losing streak, Singapore slips

Markets continue to cheer gains in U.S. technology sector

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) -- Malaysian shares surged along with most Asian markets as investors continued to cheer a tech-driven rally on Wall Street although Singapore stocks slipped amid concerns of stronger currency could potentially erode its export benefits.

The FBM KLCI rose 1.3% to 1777.13 led by gains in Astro Malaysia Holdings that helped reverse a three-day losing streak. The Straits Times Index meanwhile fell 0.4% to 3467.81. The Singapore dollar rose, racking up more than 1% gains against the U.S. dollar in the past six months.

"We've likely seen the worst in terms of selling by foreign investors," said Chong Woon Woo, a broker at Malacca Securities. "We're waiting to see when international funds re-enter the market before buying more aggressively."

Foreign investors sold a net 191.8 million ringgit ($48.28 million) of Malaysian stocks so far this week, stock exchange data showed. That was a marked drop from a week earlier when 825.7 million ringgit was sold in the first two sessions.

Asian markets ended mostly higher boosted by positive sentiment from overnight gains in U.S. technology shares that helped push the Nasdaq Composite to new record high. Still, there are some cautious ahead of the U.S. monetary policy decision and the U.S.-North Korea summit next week.

The broad rally in technology plays boosted peers in Singapore although consumer stocks came under pressure. Singapore's biggest technology company by market capitalization, Venture Corp, added 1%.

"We're in for a bit of Singapore dollar strengthening that's not great for the conglomerates which have a lot of US dollar revenue," said Neel Sinha, a Singapore-based strategist at Maybank Kim Eng. "I'm still constructive on the market as it's been the third straight quarter of earnings growth."

Media conglomerate Singapore Press Holdings dropped 1.1% while casino operator Genting Singapore fell 3.1%. For May, Genting Singapore was the second best performing STI stock with a 7.7% price gain after ComfortDelGro's 9.3% gain. The taxi operator closed 1.6% down.

In Malaysia, WCT Holdings, a construction and property firm, rose 1.2%. Corporate strategy director Ng Chee Kiat told reporters that he hopes to list the company's real estate investment trust next year after resolving a legal dispute surrounding one of its shopping malls.

Trading software developer N2N Connect rose 2.5% after announcing plans to raise up to 65.05 million ringgit ($16.38 million) via a share sale to Japan's SBI Holdings. Inc.

Astro Malaysia Holdings, a pay-TV operator, rose 14% amid news reports that its major shareholder could take the company private. The company responded to news report that it has yet to receive confirmation of any privatization proposal without addressing its shareholder's intention.

--Alexander Winifred and Joannah Perez

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