THE last trading day of 2002 saw the KLSE Composite Index (CI) closing not with a bang, but with a whimper. The much anticipated last minute window-dressing activities failed to make an impact. Instead heavyweight Maybank a key component stock of the CI lost 45 sen, dragging the market down.
At the close, the CI lost 2.11 points to 646.32, which was 50 points or 7% lower than it was at the beginning of the year. Maybanks loss alone had cost the CI 3.3 points.
There is not much excitement expected today. Even if the market were to close 10 or 15 points higher (yesterday), it would still be below what it was at the start of the year, OSK Research senior manager B. Pankajkumar said.
An interesting point was the selling of Maybank was done in the last 30 minutes before the markets close, which was the exact opposite of what market heavyweights had normally experienced over the past few days.
The huge loss incurred by Maybank also brought down the KLSE Finance Index, which slumped 1.5% to 4,857, making it the only sectorial index on the main board to post a loss yesterday.
Other banks fared much better, with CAHB up two sen to RM3.24, Hong Leong Bank gained 14 sen to RM4.50, while Public Bank slipped three sen to RM2.27. Public Banks foreign tranche rose five sen to RM2.60.
In the broader market, there was some selective buying of key blue chips throughout the day, with counters like Tenaga, Telekom, Petronas Gas and Proton featuring prominently in the days list of most heavily traded counters. But persistent profit-taking amid low participation from retail investors capped further gains. Overall, gainers edged losers 301 to 280.
PankajKumar said that the issues that had been dogging world equity markets recently from the looming war in Iraq to concerns over the economic recovery worldwide would continue to weigh down on investors sentiment in the early part of 2003.
Elsewhere in other Asian equity markets, the mood was equally subdued.
Hong Kongs Hang Seng Index closed 0.5% higher at 9,321 points, Singapores Straits Times Index was up 0.68% to close at 1,341 and in Sydney, the All-Ordinaries index gained 0.5% to 2,975 points.
In Taiwan, the Taipei Weighted Index was down 0.12% to 4,452 points.