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Stocks

Singapore, Malaysia shares drop after US tech selloff

Sime Darby resumes trading in Kuala Lumpur after spinoff

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore equities fell for a second day on Thursday after an overnight tumble in U.S. technology shares weighed on investor sentiment.

Malaysia shares also declined. Sime Darby advanced following the spinoff of its plantation and property units.

The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan dropped 1.4% following a mixed session for U.S. stocks overnight. Financial companies rallied while technology firms slumped. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.3% to mark its worst session in more than two-months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher. The broadest measure S&P 500 Index ended little changed.

Singapore's Straits Times Index declined 0.2% to 3,433.54. The gauge rose 1.8% for November. Casino operator Genting Singapore, up over 11% this month through Wednesday, was among the day's top losers with a 2.2% fall. Heavyweight DBS Group Holdings closed down 0.9%.

Margaret Yan, a market analyst of CMC Markets Singapore, said the STI is likely to consolidate at around 3,430 points this week. While the upside would be capped by rising geopolitical uncertainties and poor performances in the regional markets, the downside would be cushioned by relatively low valuations and an improved economic outlook, she said.

City Developments added 0.7% and CapitaLand rose 0.3%, after falling earlier. On Thursday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said recent developments in the property market, such as rising land prices, posed potential risks to financial stability.

Singapore Exchange advanced 0.4%. The bourse operator plans to shorten the time taken to settle stock trades on the local exchange to two working days from three currently, a move that will align its clearing and settlement process with major financial markets.

Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation, a unit of Keppel Corp., rallied 3.8% after it said it would carry out a strategic review of its China logistics portfolio.

Chip Eng Seng Corp. dropped 1.1%. The property company said late Wednesday it is acquiring a hotel in Adelaide, Australia for A$43 million ($56.5 million).

The Bursa Malaysia KLCI index fell 0.2% to 1,717.86, ending the month 1.7% lower. Markets will remain closed Friday for a public holiday.

Sime Darby resumed trading on Thursday following the demerger of its plantation and property units. The stock closed at 2.35 ringgit as compared with its adjusted post-spin off reference price of 1.85 ringgit. Sime Darby Plantation closed at 5.01 ringgit on its debut as against the reference price of 5.53 ringgit and Sime Darby Property ended at 1.20 ringgit against the 1.50 ringgit reference price.

Malayan Banking, Malaysia's largest lender by assets, rose by 0.5% after reporting that third-quarter net profit rose 13%, thanks largely to higher net interest income.

Hong Leong Financial Group added 2.7% after first-quarter net profit rose by 18%, helped by stronger contribution from commercial banking and insurance businesses.

AirAsia dropped 1% after the Malaysian Aviation Commission Thursday raised passenger service charge for international travelers flying from the klia2 airport to 73 ringgit ($17.86) from 50 ringgit, beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

Destini climbed 2.3% after the integrated engineering solutions provider reported a 79% jump in net profit for the third-quarter.

IQ Group tumbled 29.7% after the manufacturer of security products swung to a net loss in the second quarter. Success Transformer dropped 15.9% after the metal stamping company posted an almost 50% decline in first-quarter net profit.

--Alexander Winifred and Nimesh Vora

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