Year of the Horse runs out tamely, CI marginally downimg


  • Business
  • Friday, 31 Jan 2003

BY KATHY F0NG

BARGAIN hunting in selected heavyweight blue chips in the last five trading minutes yesterday, the last trading day of the lunar Year of the Horse, helped lift the KLSE Composite Index (CI) off its day low of 658 points. It closed at 665, still 0.67 of a point lower than Wednesday's finish. 

Dealers noted sentiment remained cautious amid uncertainties over US military action against Iraq. 

“It was a quiet day, with many investors heading back to their hometown to enjoy the Lunar New Year break, instead of to the trading rooms,'' commented a dealer. 

Trading volume shrank to 204 million shares from 266 million the prior day. 

Renong Bhd and its related companies continued to top the 10 most-active list. Intria Bhd was the most active, followed by Renong and Time Engineering Bhd. Intria rose five sen to 89 sen, with 13 million shares traded; Renong was up two sen to 50.5 sen, with nearly 11 million shares changing hands; and Time Engineering gained five sen to 95.5 sen on volume of 5.85 million. 

In late buying, Genting Bhd increased 30 sen to RM14.80, and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) gained five sen each to RM9.55 and RM8.05 respectively – but it was not enough to push the CI into the positive zone at the close. 

A check by StarBiz showed Wonderful Wire and Cable Bhd was the biggest gainer in the Year of the Horse with an 83% gain in share price to RM2.42 yesterday from RM1.32 on Feb 8 last year. Merces Holdings Bhd was the largest loser, its price falling 74% to 28 sen from RM1.08. 

The KLSE is closed from today till Tuesday. 

Analysts said the market was likely to follow the movement of the regional bourses when it resumed trading on Wednesday. However, they noted that late bargain hunting on index-linked counters always emerged to help shore up the CI. 

OSK Research senior research manager Pankaj Kumar said the war scenario would provide opportunities for those not currently in the market. “Current share prices have more or less factored in the war scenario. The downside risk is minimal,'' he explained. 

Pankaj does not expect any significant development on the geopolitical front until Feb 5, when US Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to deliver to the United Nations Security Council new intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. 

Given the prevailing uncertainties, Affin-UOB Research maintains its recommendation of a defensive investment strategy, with a bottom-up approach.  

 

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