Asian stock markets rise on positive news flow

  • Business
  • Saturday, 02 Aug 2003


THE KLSE and most major Asian markets ended on a positive note yesterday, buoyed by expectations of better things to come. The markets rose following Wall Street’s overnight gains on news that the US economy grew at 2.4% in the second quarter, which far exceeded economists’ forecasts of 1.5%. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had risen 0.37% to close at 9,234 points on Thursday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.82% to 1,735 points. 

Analysts said the positive trend in the market, in the absence of any foreseeable bad news both locally and internationally, was good news for the KLSE.  

They said it might indicate the start of the next upward leg for the KLSE, whose benchmark Composite Index (CI) had languished below the 720 mark for most of the past fortnight. 

“There is certainly plenty of liquidity in the market, and what’s required is positive news flow to provide the catalyst for it to move up,” the head of research at a major local securities firm said, who predicted that the KLSE could be “on the next leg towards 780–800 points”. 

Strong buying interest appeared to indicate the positive news was starting to create optimism among investors in the local bourse, at least for the day. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s reaffirmation yesterday that the country would grow by 4.5% this year also helped sustain interest. 

Led by finance stocks, the CI gained 2.5 points or 0.34% to close at 723. Trading volume of 611.8 million shares worth RM822mil was heavier by 28% versus the 479.52 million shares traded on Thursday. 

On the week, the CI closed 1.8% or 12.5 points higher – from 710.53 – the first time in four weeks that it closed the week up. 

Premium Nutrients Bhd, making its debut on the second board, was the most active counter.  

It closed at 62 sen, up 12 sen over its initial public offering (IPO) price of 50 sen. 

Technology stocks were among the briskly traded counters, on the better news coming from the US, which is the largest market for Malaysia's electronic products. 

Mesdaq-listed MCM Technologies Bhd and AKN Messaging Technologies Bhd were among the 10 most actively traded stocks. The Mesdaq market itself closed 3.43 points higher at 122.28. 

Main board-listed Eng Teknologi Holdings Bhd gained 4 sen to RM3.46. 

In a generally good day when gainers outnumbered losers by 589 to 162, most other sectors also performed better. Oil and gas stock Petra Perdana Bhd rose 25 sen to RM6.15, while air-cargo operator Transmile Group Bhd gained 12 sen to RM3.90. 

Elsewhere in Asia, most major markets also reacted well to the good US numbers.  

Japan’s Nikkei 225 average closed up 48.5 points or 0.51% to 9,612 following three consecutive days of declines on poor earnings from technology companies Toshiba, Hitachi and Fujitsu. 

In South Korea, the Kospi finished nearly 2% higher at 727 points; in Taipei, the Taiex closed 1.4% higher at 5,391; and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng ended 113.8 points or 1.12% higher at 10,249. 

Singapore, however, closed 1.79 points lower at 1,557. 

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