CI down but interest in lower liners buoys sentiment


  • Business
  • Tuesday, 04 Nov 2003

BY KATHY FONG

THE KLSE Composite Index (CI) fell four points or 0.5% to 813 yesterday on profit-taking in large-cap stocks but buying interest in lower liners, especially second board and technology stocks, helped buoy sentiment. 

For the day blue chips were mostly lower, dragging down the benchmark index to a low of 809 points, while the second board index rose 2.54 points or 1.8% to 147.2. The technology index gained 1.4 points or 2% to 62.7. 

Second board–listed Tanah Emas Corp Bhd was the most actively traded, with 29.6 million shares changing hands, followed by Landmarks Holdings Bhd and Suremax Group Bhd. 

Tanah Emas, which was also among the top gainers in terms of percentage, surged RM1.17 or 25% to RM5.85. 

The strong sales data released by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) over the weekend boosted the share prices of chipmakers. 

The SIA said global semiconductor sales rose 6.5% to US$14.4bil in September from US$13.6bil in August, the strongest month-on-month growth since 1990, due to firm demand for personal computers. 

In the third quarter, chip sales in the Asia-Pacific region increased 19%, while that in Europe was up 12%, Japan 11% and the US 8.6%. 

Among the tech stocks, Globetronics Bhd jumped 40 sen to RM7, MPI Bhd added 60 sen to RM18.40 and Unisem Bhd gained 35 sen to RM9.95. 

As for the heavyweights, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd each fell 20 sen to RM9.40 and RM10 respectively; Telekom Malaysia Bhd lost 25 sen to RM8.95, and Petronas Gas Bhd shed 20 sen to RM7.65. 

Dealers said interest in the lower liners was gathering momentum as more retail investors were being lured back to the stock market by the substantial gains in share prices. 

TA Securities head of research C.K. Ngu said profit-taking in the immediate term might trim the CI's recent gains. However, he expects bargain hunting to emerge whenever the CI dips. “It's time to be aggressive in equity investment. Any pull-back in share prices is a good opportunity to accumulate,'' he added. 

Ngu favours cyclical companies whose earnings are sensitive to economic conditions, as he believes the global economy is now back on the growth track. 

As for corporate earnings, Ngu said companies were likely to deliver better figures for the quarter ended Sept 30, compared with the preceding quarter. 

“Management of many companies have turned more positive on their business outlook. We should see bigger surprise in the fourth quarter or the first quarter next year,'' he added. 

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