Breakfast briefing: Wednesday, September 20

MarketWatch: The three major US stock indexes edged higher on Tuesday, logging closing records, with financial stocks providing the biggest boost a day ahead of the Federal Reserve’s concluding statement from its two-day policy meeting. The DJIA rose 39.45 points, or 0.18%, to 22,370.8, clocking its sixth straight record close. The S&P 500 gained 2.78 points, or 0.11%, to 2,506.65, hitting its fifth record closing high in the last six sessions and Nasdaq added 6.68 points, or 0.1%, to 6,461.32, also squeaking out a record closing high. – Reuters




Oil prices ended lower on Tuesday, retreating from near five-month highs ahead of a meeting between key oil producers on the outlook for further supply cuts. Brent crude futures settled down 34 cents at US$55.14 a barrel, not far off a five-month high of US$55.99. – Reuters


Top foreign stories


Toshiba flips back towards Western Digital group for chip unit sale: sources: Toshiba Corp is shifting back toward selling its prized semiconductor unit to a group backed by joint venture partner Western Digital Corp, people familiar with the deal said. Just days ago the Japanese firm said it was leaning toward a rival bid for the US$18 billion business that includes a South Korean chipmaker. – Reuters


Bayer says needs more time for Monsanto deal approval: German drugs and pesticides group Bayer said on Tuesday it was now likely to be early next year before it can complete its US$66 billion deal to acquire US group Monsanto, later than previously expected. – Reuters


Walgreens gets regulatory nod for slimmed-down Rite Aid deal: US antitrust regulators have allowed a slimmed-down deal for drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc to buy about 42% of Rite Aid Corp’s US stores for US$4.38 billion, Walgreens said on Tuesday. Walgreens will acquire 1,932 Rite Aid stores, 254 fewer than it announced in July, in areas where competition between the two chains is not significant. – Reuters


Toys ‘R’ Us gets court permission to borrow US$2b after filing for bankruptcy: Toys ‘R’ Us Inc got court permission on Tuesday to borrow more than US$2 billion to start paying suppliers so it can stock up on items like Lego building blocks and Barbie dolls for the holiday season, a day after it filed for bankruptcy. – Reuters


Singapore Press loses claim of being bigger than New York Times: Singapore’s leading newspaper publisher had a market capitalisation that was larger than that of The New York Times Co – until this month. Singapore Press Holdings Ltd saw its market value fall below that of its better known US peer for the first time in 12 years, with outstanding shares at S$4.2bil, about US$40mil less than the publisher of the New York Times. – Bloomberg


T-Mobile US explores takeover of Sprint: US wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc is exploring taking over rival Sprint Corp in an all-stock deal, after SoftBank Group Corp offered to give up its majority ownership of Sprint, a person familiar with the matter said. – Reuters


Cyber attack, hurricane weigh on FedEx quarterly profit: Package delivery company FedEx Corp said on Tuesday a June cyber attack on its Dutch unit slashed US$300 million from its quarterly profit, and the company lowered its full-year earnings forecast. FedEx reported net income for its fiscal first quarter of US$596 million or US$2.19 per share, down more than 16% from the year-ago US$715 million or US$2.65 per share. – Reuters


Top local stories


MUFG divesting stake in CIMB: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) is divesting its entire 412.5 million shares in CIMB – held through Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd – at RM6.15 to RM6.30 apiece, sources say. The proposed selling price represents a discount of 2.5%-5% to CIMB’s closing price of RM6.46 on Tuesday. – StarBiz


Guidelines on cryptocurrencies: Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim says the central bank will be issuing guidelines cryptocurrencies by the year-end.  “We hope to come out with guidelines on cryptocurrencies… in particular, those relating to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing,” he said. – StarBiz


Nor Mohamed resigns from Khazanah: Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop has resigned as deputy chairman of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which will take effect from Sept 30. Nor Mohamed will also vacate his position as chairman of Khazanah Research Institute on the same date. – StarBiz


Great Eastern to sell stake in Malaysian ops: Great Eastern Holdings Ltd is reportedly planning to dispose of its stake in its Malaysian operations for as much as US$1bil (RM4.19bil). The Wall Street Journal reported the Singapore-listed insurer had already engaged a Malaysian bank to discuss the potential deal. – StarBiz


MRT Corp awards jobs to WCT and MRCB: Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) has awarded two contracts totalling RM345.3mil to WCT Holdings Bhd and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB). WCT unit WCT Bhd secured a RM199.5mil job to build elevated stations at Kuchai Lama and Taman Naga Emas, Kuala Lumpur, while MRCB clinched a RM145.8mil contract to build elevated stations and for other associated works at Cyberjaya City Centre and Putrajaya Sentral. – StarBiz


E&O plans to sell non-core assets for RM700m: Property developer Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) plans to divest RM700mil of non-core assets, including shopping malls and vacant land in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. – StarBiz


Bunge unit issues US$1b debt notes to buy stake in IOI Loders: Bunge Ltd unit Bunge Limited Finance Corp has issued US$1bil of debt notes for the purchase of a 70% interest in IOI Loders Croklaan Group BV from IOI Corp Bhd . Bunge Limited had priced a public offering of US$400mil aggregate principal amount of 3% senior notes due 2022 and US$600mil aggregate principal amount of 3.75% senior notes due 2027. – StarBiz


MRCB fixes prices for rights, warrants: Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) has fixed the price for its rights issue to raise at least RM2.2bil at 79 sen a share and the exercise price for the rights warrants at RM1.25 apiece. – StarBiz


KESM Industries Q4 earnings jump to RM13.4m: KESM Industries Bhd ’s net profit for the fourth quarter surged 67% to RM13.4mil from RM8.1mil a year ago, driven by higher sales. Its revenue grew 20.5% to RM87.8mil from RM74.5mil previously. – StarBiz


Broadcom exports to hit RM65b next year: Broadcom Ltd’s exports for 2018 are expected to hit about RM65bil, making it the biggest semiconductor and electronic exporter, International Trade & Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said after the opening of Broadcom’s global distribution warehouse in Penang. – StarBiz