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Nikkei Markets

Malaysia stocks snap nine-day winning streak

Singapore continues ascent amid corporate earnings disclosures

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) -- Malaysia shares Friday snapped its longest winning streak in more than two years as investors booked profits on nearly 6% gain through nine straight sessions. Singapore shares advanced further.

The FBM KLCI closed 0.3% lower at 1754.67 but ended with weekly gain of 1.9% after major telecom and banking stocks took a breather after recent climb. The Straits Times Index rose 0.6% to 3297.83 in its fourth consecutive session of gains amid a slew of corporate earnings announcements.

"Today was profit taking day," said Chong Woon Woo, a broker at Malacca Securities in Malaysia. "I'm recommending clients to avoid index stocks and stick to laggards in the broader market for now."

Stock markets in Asia were mixed after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, adding he worried that his administration's work would be hurt by such monetary policy actions. The White House later said the president respected the Fed's independence.

Over the week, investors have been cheering robust U.S. economic data, corporate earnings reports and the lack of escalation in trade conflict between Washington and Beijing.

Sentiment however was dampened by latest concerns over U.S. protectionism on news of a proposal to tighten scrutiny of foreign investments on national security grounds. Trump's invitation to Russia's Vladimir Putin for a second summit in Washington during fall also added to the worries.

Telecommunication stocks, among this week's biggest gainers in Malaysia, led the decline on Friday. Telekom Malaysia and DiGi.Com fell 2.3% and 1.9%, while Maxis and Axiata Group dropped 0.4% and 1.4%. The four stocks have each gained at least 2.4% this week.

Shares of long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X jumped 7%. AirAsia Group will soon seek an initial public offering of Thai AirAsia X, Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said.

Construction firm WZ Satu slumped 6.2% after it slipped into the red in the third quarter, weighed by a 13.4% drop in revenue.

In Singapore, Wheelock Properties added 1.8%, extending Thursday's 25% gain following a takeover offer from its Hong Kong-listed parent. Other property stocks also climbed. UOL Group was 2.6% higher and City Developments rose 1.5%.

In earnings news, Keppel Corporation gained 1.8% after reporting a 44% on-year gain in second quarter net profit to S$246 million ($179.8 million). SIA Engineering edged up 0.3%. On Thursday, the company reported first quarter net profit of S$40.5 million, up 10.3% on year.

SATS also advanced 1.4% after the ground-handling and in-flight catering service firm said its first quarter net profit improved 11.5% on year to S$63.9 million. CapitaLand Mall Trust inched up 0.9% after a 2.9% rise in distributable income at S$100 million for the three months to Jun. 30.

- Alexander Winifred and Joannah Perez

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