THE current stock market rally has brought cheer and excitement to investors. The share prices of blue chip companies have moved to levels they have not seen before.
A quick survey by StarBiz found that 23 of the 30 largest stocks by market capitalisation have touched all-time highs or levels they have not reached for several years, after adjusting for bonus and rights issues, stock splits and dividends over the years.
Of these 23 blue chips, 10 are trading at or slightly below their all time high levels, while the remaining 13 are at three or four year highs.
For example, Malayan Banking Bhd, the biggest company by market value, rose to a four-year high last Thursday. On its closing price of RM11.40 last Friday, the country's largest banking group is just 50 sen short of breaching its all-time high of RM11.87, which was achieved on Feb 14, 2000.
As for Malaysia International Shipping Corp Bhd (MISC), the fourth largest company on the MSEB, it was making waves and seemed to be charting new heights by the week.
MISC, which is the country's largest shipping company, has risen sharply since August last year, after nearly six years of range bound trading within a band of RM6 to RM8.
Maxis Communications Bhd shares have also surged. It has risen to twice its initial public offering (IPO) price of RM4.36 in just over one-and-a-half-years. Maxis, which closed at a high of RM8.65 on Friday, is likely to rise further, after announcing an excellent set of financial results for the year ended Dec 31, 2003.
Public Bank Bhd and British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, which have been listed on the MSEB for more than 30 years, are trading at their highest levels in decades, if not their all-time highs, based on available data.
There are other heavyweights that are not trading near record levels although they are at their highest levels in years.
Telekom Malaysia Bhd, the second largest company on the MSEB, has risen to a 2½-year high of RM10.70.
But based on its price of RM10.10 on Friday, Telekom is trading at 57% from its record price of RM17.70.
As for Tenaga Nasional Bhd, its share price of RM9.70 is less than half its record price of RM20. Even so, the current price has touched a 1½-year high.
Similarly, Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd's (Proton) share price is at a 1½-year high on Friday's price of RM9.65. However, the share price is still a long way off from its record price of RM17 that was set on Feb 14, 1997.
Of the top 30 stocks on the MSEB, only seven have not reached all-time highs or a high of several years. They are Petronas Gas Bhd, Plus Expressway Bhd, Resorts World Bhd, YTL Power International Bhd, YTL Corp Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd and Gamuda Bhd.
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