Public Bank continues to weigh on KLCI, Scomi in focus

KUALA LUMPUR: Public Bank continued to be a drag on the FBM KLCI early Friday on concerns about a weaker operating performance while Scomi surged after the company and Prasarana Malaysia settled their 2011 monorail dispute.

At 9.11am, the KLCI was down 0.71 of a point or 0.04% to 1,644.36. Turnover was 265.19 million shares valued at RM61.53mil. There were 118 gainers, 127 losers and 201 counters unchanged.

Asian share markets consolidated weekly gains as the China-US talks dragged on with no concrete conclusions, while caution ahead of US payrolls and a holiday in China and Hong Kong dampened volatility, Reuters reported.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed and near its highest since the end of August. It was still up 1.9% for the week and 13% for the year so far.

Japan's Nikkei added 0.1% to be 2.6% firmer for the week. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 edged up 0.04%.

At Bursa, Public Bank fell 14 sen to RM22.84, extending its recent decline after a research house raised concerns about its operating profit. However, others viewed the stock was trading at high valuations and used the excuse to take profit.

Among semicon and tech-related stocks, KESM fell 10 sen to RM8.10, Vitrox five sen to RM7.05 while MPI lost three sen to RM1.15 on a cautious outlook for the sector.

LTKM fell three sen to RM1.15 after its Melaka unit announced it faced court charges for raising the prices of its eggs.

Scomi jumped five sen to 11.5 sen with 78.80 million shares done after its subsidiary, Scomi Transit Projects Sdn Bhd and Prasarana signed a new contract for RM303mil, ending their dispute relating to the Kuala Lumpur Monorail Fleet Expansion Project Contract back in June 3, 2011.  Its warrants surged two sen to 45 sen.

Oil prices fell, with Brent slipping away from the US$70 mark after briefly rising above that level in the previous session, as traders fretted about progress in US-China talks to end a trade war.

Brent futures dropped 23 cents to US$69 while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down two cents at US$62.08.

Hengyuan rose eight sen to RM5.98 and Petronas Chemical added seven sen to RM9.17. Tenaga added four sen to RM12.68.