Oil futures rose for a fourth session with front-month contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude approaching $50 in electronic trading on Wednesday. The rally has extended in part due to weaker-than-forecast U.S. crude stockpiles reported last week by the Energy Information Administration, as well as increased forecasts for global demand by the Department of Energy. The rising prices bouyed shares in the energy sector and broad equity indices generally in trading in Asia, and was a welcome relief for several emerging-market currencies.
Anheuser-Busch ups the ante for massive merger. In its third proposal and first public offer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, announced a roughly $100 billion combined cash and stock bid for London’s SABMiller. The proposed merger of the world’s two largest brewers was received positively by SAB’s largest shareholder, Richmond, Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria Group, but the target’s board has yet to comment.
Samsung beats expectations. Shares of Korea’s Samsung Electronics traded sharply higher Wednesday in trading on the Korea Stock Exchange after the maker of the Galaxy smartphone pre-announced third-quarter results that include profits of more than $6 billion on stronger sales. The company’s bottom line was helped by a slide in the Korean won versus the U.S. dollar that drove margins higher on chip sales.
Emerging Asian currencies rally. The Malaysian ringgit rose by the largest one-day margin in over 15 years as prospects for the Southeast Asian economy were boosted by rising oil prices and stronger-than-forecast trade data for August. Despite the gains, the ringgit remains nearly 17 percent lower versus the U.S. dollar than at the start of the year. The Indonesian rupee and Thai baht also rose against benchmark currencies in trading this morning.
Chinese e-commerce merger. Group-buying Internet startups Meituan.com and Dianping.com announced a merger with a combined market value of $15 billion Wednesday in a move that will see the Chinese e-commerce firms positioned to compete with Baidu. According to analysts, the move may signal further consolidation in China’s Internet sector. Meituan.com received significant funding from Alibaba Group Holding while Dianping.com was backed by Tencent Holdings.
U.K. industrial production beats expectations but remains soft. Despite beating consensus forecasts, August industrial production for the U.K. showed signs of softening at a 1 percent gain versus July. Manufacturing specific figures registered a contraction of 0.8 percent versus August 2014 in the measure’s worst reading since 2013.
Yum! Brands stock sinks on weak China results. Shares of Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! Brands plummeted by nearly 20 percent in after-market trading on Tuesday after the global fast-food giant announced adjusted third-quarter earnings of $1 a share on revenue of $3.43 billion–significantly lower than consensus analyst estimates. A slow pace of recovery for the company’s China operations was singled out as a driver for the shortfall.