Wall Street boost for regional markets

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 31 Dec 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Regional markets were higher in early trade on Wednesday, the last day of 2008, boosted by the firmer close on Wall Street.

However, at Bursa Malaysia, the benchmark KL Composite Index was in the red on mild profit taking from yesterday’s gains. Analysts expected the KLCI to make up for some lost ground following the steep losses this year.

At 9.30am, the KLCI was down 3.54 points to 878.09, weighed by losses in Petronas Gas and Maybank.

Turnover was 22.19 million shares valued at RM20.57. There were 57 gainers, 62 losers and 90 counters unchanged.

The Nikkei 225 rose 1.28% or 112.39 points to 8,859.56, Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.35% to 1,776.88 and Shanghai’s A Share Index added 0.25% to 1,929.31.

In New York, stocks closed higher on Tuesday after the government expanded its bailout of the auto industry, bolstering hopes lawmakers would continue to take steps to minimise the severity of the year-long recession.

Reuters reported that the Bush Administration said it would extend an additional US$1bil loan to General Motors Corp and take a US$5bil stake in the automaker's financing arm, GMAC, in the latest move to ease the credit crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 184.46 points, or 2.17%, to 8,668.39. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 21.21 points, or 2.44% to 890.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 40.38 points, or 2.67%, to 1,550.70.

Investors shrugged off another round of economic reports that pointed to a deepening recession. Prices of single-family homes plunged a record 18 percent in October, while consumer confidence also fell to a record low.

Oil inched up 15 cents to US$39.18 per barrel.

Meanwhile, HwangDBS Vickers Research said while trading activity will likely be thin on the last day of 2008, the Malaysian bourse may attempt to make up a bit more of the lost ground suffered throughout the year.

“This comes after its benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) staged a relatively strong performance yesterday to close at an intra-day high of 881.63 (up 1.7%).

“Giving additional strength to the KLCI to build on its gains is the overnight rise on Wall Street. The immediate resistance level for the KLCI is seen at 890, beyond which we suspect investors will be tempted to sell on strength in view of the still doubtful market outlook,” it added.

Petronas Gas fell 25 sen to RM9.60, Tanjong and Maybank eased 10 sen each to RM13 and RM5.20 while BLand lost eight sen to Rm3.20. Tenaga shed five sen to RM6.25.

KL Kepong, which announced an allocation of RM1.32bil for a share buyback scheme, rose 15 sen to RM9. Batu Kawan, its major shareholder, added five sen to RM8.05.

Meico added 15 sen to 40 sen, Ewein 15 sen to 40 sen and SCGM 7.5 sen to 60.5 sen.

Boustead gained four sen to RM3.24, Ranhill 3.5 sen to 75.5 sen and AMMB-CC three sen to 43.5 sen.

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