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Nikkei Markets

Singapore, Malaysia shares fall as investors shun risk

Technology stocks drag Singapore, Telekom Malaysia loses 11% on weak earnings

SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore and Malaysia shares drifted lower Tuesday along with most Asian stock markets as investors begin to doubt trade ceasefire between the world's top two economies.

The Straits Times Index fell 0.2% to 3539.61, while the FBM KLCI ended 0.5% lower at 1845.03. Both the Singaporean dollar and Malaysian ringgit however were slightly higher against the U.S. dollar amid rising oil prices.

"It's also worth noting that the outlook on emerging markets is lousy at the moment," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia trading at broker Oanda. "The dollar and higher U.S. yields are turning out to be very bad for risk assets."

Wall Street received an overnight boost on Monday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the trade war was "on hold" following talks with officials from China.

But investors' concerns resurfaced over the effect of rising oil prices on inflation and interest rate increases, especially after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the country would impose the "strongest sanctions in history" on Iran for its nuclear and missile activities.

Brent, the global benchmark for crude oil, rose 0.4% in London trading, while West Texas Intermediate rose to its highest level since 2014 in Monday U.S. trading.

Market operator Singapore Exchange lost 0.2% after announcing Tuesday an application made in the Bombay High Court for an interim injunction on its new India equity derivative products. The products were intended to replace its popular Nifty 50 index futures.

Technology sector stocks were among the losers in Singapore. Venture Corp was the top decliner on the index, closing 2.7% lower. Hi-P International edged 5.7% lower.

Sembcorp Industries fell 0.7% following news that a unit has agreed to sell its 60% stake in Sembcorp Tay Paper Recycling for 6 million Singaporean dollar ($4.5 million).

Its marine unit Sembcorp Marine, meanwhile, rose 0.4% after it announced completion of three integrated fixed platform topsides for the Culzean gas field in the UK North Sea.

In Malaysia, Petronas Chemicals Group lost 3.1%, a day after posting a 17.8% decline in first-quarter net profit. Morgan Stanley analyst Mayank Maheshwari said earnings likely peaked in the first quarter for Petronas Chemicals.

State-run Telekom Malaysia slumped 11% after first-quarter net profit plunged by nearly one-third weighed by a decline in voice and data revenue.

Hengyuan Refining Company, a unit of China's Shandong Hengyuan Petrochemical Co., lost 13.9% after first quarter net profit plummeted 69% on-year due to weaker margins.

--Joannah Perez and Alexander Winifred

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