Mild fund buying lifts KLCI off early low

MYT 11:50:23 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: The market opened lower in early trade on Friday, weighed down by the overnight losses on Wall Street, but some buying of blue chips including MISC, IJM and Maybank lifted the KLCI off its early lows. 

At 10am, the KLCI was just down 0.24 point to 1,253.79, off the opening low of 1,247.10. Turnover was 197 million shares valued at RM272.60mil. There were 172 gainers, 188 losers and 138 counters unchanged. 

Among Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.06% to 12,597.50, Singapore’;s Straits Times Index lost 0.03% to 3,024.15 while Shanghai’s A Share Index eased 0.13% to 3,574.21. However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index opened 0.41% higher at 22,756.42.  

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 120.40 points, or 0.97%, to end at 12,302.46. 

In the United States, corporate profits fell 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to government data. The Commerce Department said the economy grew at an annual rate of just 0.6% in the fourth quarter, unchanged from a previous estimate and down sharply from 4.9% in the third quarter. 

At Bursa Malaysia, Maybank, which hit a five-year low of RM8.40 Thursday, rose 10 sen to RM8.50. MISC and the foreign shares rose 40 sen each to RM9.40 and RM9.50 respectively, while IJM added 15 sen to RM6. Public Bank gained 10 sen to RM10.80. 

Ewein, which was listed Friday, jumped 24.5 sen to 94.5 sen. The Penang-based company makes tools, dies and parts for electrical and electronics equipment.  

The warrants of Wah Seong, which were listed Friday, surged 30 sen to 30.5 sen but the shares eased three sen to RM2.06. 

SP Setia was unchanged at RM3.68 off the early high of RM3.74. Analysts said the first quarter earnings for the period ended Jan 31, 2008 of RM49mil was broadly in line with their recently lowered profit numbers.  

“Although it came in at 18% of our full-year forecast as well as consensus estimates, it was not a surprise as 1Q is typically the weakest quarter and the shortfall should be covered in the remaining quarters,” said CIMB Equities Research. 

Gula Perak rose 0.5 sen to 11.5 sen and it was the most active counter with 14.77 million shares done. Stocks on the move included Berjaya Corp, up seven sen to RM1.17 and Berjaya Corp-LC added six sen to 66.5 sen. 

The major losers were IOI Prop, sliding 70 sen to RM11.10 but with only 1,000 shares done. BCHB and Shell fell 20 sen each to RM10.10 and RM10.90. Also down 20 sen was DiGi to RM24.20. Telekom gave up 10 sen tp RM10.70.

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