Petronas stocks, IOI lift KLCI near all-time high

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI closed at the day's high on Friday, supported by fund buying of Petronas-linked stocks and plantation heavyweight IOI Corp while key regional markets were mixed.

At the close, the KLCI was up 2.84 points to 1,645.36, which was just two points away from the all-time high of 1,647.94. Turnover was 1.23 billion shares valued at RM1.54bil. There were 357 gainers, 348 losers and 359 counters unchanged.

Reuters reported that poor Chinese trade data clipped a hot streak for European shares and the euro on Friday, trimming gains built since the European Central Bank signalled it was readying plans to combat the region's debt woes and limp growth.

Europe's stock markets began their most recent rally two weeks ago when ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank was "ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro", raising hopes of heavy bond buying to aid Spain and Italy. A big undershoot in China's July exports on Friday, however, soured the mood a little, the wire report said.

Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.97% to 8,891.44; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.66% to 20,1356.12 and Shanghai's Composite Index was down 0.24% to 2,168.81.

However, Taiwan's Taiex managed to eke out a 0.10% gain to 7,441.12; South Korea's Kospi added 0.3% to 1,946.40 and Singapore's Straits Times Index inched up 0.06% to 3,054.20.

US light crude oil slid US$1.10 to US$92.26 and Brent US$1.14 lower at US$112.08 while spot gold lost US$7.77 to US$1,609.40.

The ringgit was quoted at 3.1171 to the US dollar.

Crude palm oil for third-month futures shed RM1 to RM2,864. IOI Corp rose 12 sen to RM5.27 and pushed the KLCI up 1.79 points. PPB added eight sen to RM14.10 but TDM fell 35 sen to RM3.94 on weaker earnings, United Plantations 28 sen lower at RM27.22 and Genting Plantations lost 16 sen to RM9.40.

E&O surged 42 sen to RM1.90 with 44.74 million shares done and its call warrants E&O jumped 16 sen to 16.5 sen after a news portal reported the Securities Commission would now order Sime Darby to make a GO for the remaining E&O shares.

However, the SC refuted the report, stating Sime did not have to make a general offer for the remaining shares in E&O after it acquired a 30% stake.

"The decision is now subject to judicial review which is pending in court," the SC said.

F&N rose 20 sen to RM19.90 on speculation Thai Beverage had raised its stake in the F&N Singapore. GAB added 22 sen to RM15.40.

Petronas Gas added 18 sen to RM19,32 and Petronas Dagangan 14 sen higher to RM22.34. Among the banks, HLFG rose 24 sen to RM12.58 and HL Bank eight sen to RM13.56.

Profit taking saw Dutch Lady falling 68 sen to RM40.02 while Shangri-La lost 15 sen to RM1.61. MSC fell 13 sen to RM3.37 and Permaju 12.5 sen to 59.5 sen.

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