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Singapore, Malaysia shares rise as US equities extend recovery

Lenders lead gains in Singapore, while mobile operators advance in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) -- Stocks in Malaysia and Singapore extended gains on Tuesday, taking cues from Wall Street's biggest two-day advance in two years.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index rose 0.2% to end at 1,833.02, while Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.9% to 3,415.07.

U.S. stocks rose for a second day on Monday, recovering from last week's sell-off that erased an estimated $2 trillion from Wall Street. Investors also factored in a plan by President Donald Trump's administration to revamp the nation's infrastructure by spending $200 billion over 10 years. The next major trigger for global markets could be the latest U.S. inflation data due Wednesday.

The KLCI's uptrend "is still intact," although the index may move within a narrow range over the next few days, Maybank Investment Bank analyst Nik Ihsan Raja Abdullah said. Market activity will remain subdued ahead of the Chinese New Year break that starts after Thursday's morning session. Trading is expected to be "choppy" in the holiday-shortened week, Nik Ihsan said.

Axiata Group rose 0.5%, adding to Monday's 3% gain. Its Sri Lankan unit Dialog Axiata reported Monday that net profit more than doubled in the final quarter of 2017, boosted by increased revenue. Rival Maxis added 1.4%.

Malaysia Airports Holdings dropped 7.9%. Newly introduced industry regulations could cap returns on invested capital, hurting the stock's valuations, CIMB Investment Bank analyst Raymond Yap said.

Jewelry retailer Tomei Consolidated jumped 5.2% after reporting a 19-fold surge in fourth-quarter profit. Rival Poh Kong Holdings advanced 6.1%.

CSC Steel Holdings, a unit of Taiwan's China Steel, rose 4.6% after fourth-quarter profit more than doubled. Shares of other steel companies also advanced with Ann Joo Resources, Malaysia's largest steelmaker by market capitalization, adding 6.5%.

Specialty chemicals manufacturer Hexza Corp. dropped 3.9% after second-quarter profit fell 84% on-year, dragged by lower volume and higher input costs.

In Singapore, banking stocks powered ahead. United Overseas Bank added 1.9% after saying it added two foreign exchange solutions to its suite of cross-border financial products and services in China.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. rose 2.5%. On Tuesday, its insurance arm Great Eastern Holdings reported that fourth-quarter group net income more than doubled to S$423.6 million ($320.4 million) from S$195.2 million a year earlier. Rival DBS Group Holdings rose 1.2%.

CapitaLand rose 1.4% after announcing it had acquired Chinatown-located Pearl Bank Apartments through a private treaty collective sale for S$728 million. On Tuesday, the conglomerate also reported a 38% on-year drop in fourth-quarter net profit. For 2017, its net profit was S$1.55 billion, up 30% on-year.

Gains in crude prices buoyed Keppel Corp. and Sembcorp Marine, which rose 0.4% and 5.1%, respectively.

Singapore Airlines fell 0.1% ahead of the announcement of its third-quarter earnings due after trading hours.

--Alexander Winifred & Joannah Perez

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