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Nikkei Markets

Singapore shares snap six-day winning streak after Fed meeting

Keppel-SPH deal for M1 puts spotlight on Singapore telecom sector

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore shares Thursday snapped a six-day winning streak as general risk-off sentiment pushed cyclical stocks lower while investors mull over further rise in U.S. interest rates. Malaysia ended flat.

The Straits Times Index shed 0.1% to close at 3236.26, led by Genting Singapore and United Overseas Bank, while the FBM KLCI was relatively unchanged at 1798.64. Telecom stocks took center stage in Singapore following an offer by Keppel Corp. and Singapore Press Holdings to buy out M1.

The KLCI remains "extremely volatile, primarily affected by trade tensions and foreign fund outflows from emerging markets," said Permodalan Nasional chairman Zeti Akhtar Aziz. The state-run fund manager will raise investments in overseas and other asset classes to boost performance, she said.

In Asia, equities performance were mixed after the U.S. Federal Reserve delivered a widely-expected rate increase and indicated that it could lift rates for the fourth time later this year as the world's largest economy continues to recover. The Nikkei Asia300 Index was up 0.1%

The move came even as the U.S. and China remain locked in a months-long trade row, with both nations having imposed punitive tariffs on goods worth tens of billions of dollars they import from each other.

Beijing late on Wednesday said it will reduce import tariffs on 1,585 taxable items from Nov. 1 to boost industrial upgradation, lower corporate costs and meet domestic demand. It did not indicate if the cuts would apply to U.S. goods.

Keppel and Singapore Press Holdings announced a pre-conditional voluntary offer of S$2.06 ($1.51) a share for the rest of M1 they do not already own. Trading in shares of Keppel, SPH and M1 have been suspended.

Axiata Group, the single-largest shareholder in M1, said any offer for its stake in M1 should come with acceptable premium. Axiata fell 0.4% in Malaysia.

Singapore Telecommunications, the most-weighted non-financial stock on the Straits Times Index, added 0.6% while its smaller rival StarHub jumped 6.2%.

In other corporate news, Creative Technology climbed 2.1% after the company said it experienced "phenomenally" strong initial sales numbers since opening its new Super X-Fi online store this week, with the company's SXFI AMP headphone amp being snapped up in "record numbers."

Sabana REIT jumped 4.8% after its manager Sabana Real Estate Investment Management agreed to sell GeoTele Center property to ADC Singapore Trust for S$99.6 million in cash. The sale consideration is S$60 million higher than the book value of the property.

In earnings news, pay-television operator  Astro Malaysia Holdings slumped 8.4% after reporting a 93% plunge in second-quarter net profit that missed analyst expectations.

Hai-O Enterprise, which sells health-related products, lost 5.9% after reporting first-quarter net profit dropped 38.4%.

- Alexander Winifred and Suzannah Benjamin

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