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Nikkei Markets

Singapore, Malaysia shares start week on feeble note

Investors are still worried over Sino-American trade spat, rising U.S. interest rates

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore shares fell Monday as investors, still haunted by last week's global equities sell-off, trimmed holdings to watch developments on Sino-American trade spat from the sidelines. Malaysia stocks also edged lower.

The Straits Times Index ended 0.8% lower at 3045.97, erasing Friday's rebound, as ComfortDelGro declined 3.2%. In Malaysia, the FBM KLCI closed down 0.1% at 1728.74 dragged by DiGi.Com's 1.6% drop.

"Concerns over China-U.S. trade tensions, a possible slowdown in the Chinese economy and higher U.S. interest rates continue to sour market views," said OANDA's Head of Asia Trading Stephen Innes.

Investors remain worried over the economic impact from an ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China that has shown few signs of easing. The Nikkei Asia300 Index fell 0.9% on Monday as many regional equity benchmarks traded lower, shrugging off Wall Street's rebound on Friday.

The fear of a possible flight of capital from emerging markets amid rising U.S. Treasury yields and expectations for more rate increases by the Federal Reserve is adding to those concerns.

"There's just no confidence in global markets at the moment, and that's triggering outflows from Malaysia's stocks," said Sam Ng, a dealer at Inter-Pacific Securities. "Retailers are also not coming in to pick up stocks after last week's selloff caused many traders to face margin call."

Stock exchange data showed foreign funds withdrew over 1 billion ringgit from Malaysia's equity market last week, the most in over three months. Genting Malaysia and Genting, viewed as proxies to fund flows due to their high foreign shareholdings, fell 1.4% and 0.4% respectively.

Plantation company FGV Holdings fell 2.1% after Chief Financial Officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha resigned - the latest in a string of departures from top management. Chief Executive Zakaria Arshad had stepped down in September.

In Singapore, Hi-P International lost 8.7% after the Apple supplier said it expects lower revenue and profit for the third quarter ended September due to project delays and lower manufacturing yields. In August, the company had expected higher revenue but flat profit in the quarter.

City Developments rose 0.4% following data showing a jump in September sales of private new apartments in Singapore following the end of the Hungry Ghost month. CapitaLand however shed 1.3% and most other real estate developers also fell in line with the broader market decline.

In Malaysia, Ideal United Bintang International jumped 8% after the property developer announced acquisition of three project firms for 353.09 million ringgit ($84.92 million) from its chairman and his wife. The projects could generate gross profit totaling 476.7 million ringgit, Ideal United said.

Merge Energy rallied 14.8% in Malaysia after saying its major shareholder and certain directors have been approached by a few parties interested in buying a stake in the company.

- Alexander Winifred and Joannah Perez

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