Friday, August 5, 2011

Fresh recession fears spook Asian markets

KUALA LUMPUR: Fears of a fresh recession in the United States swept through Asian markets on Friday, Aug 5 as the contagion from the overnight slump at Wall Street saw key regional markets falling between 1.6% and 5%.

The FBM KLCI fell more than 37 points in the earlier part of morning before paring down some of its losses.

At midday, the FBM KLCI was down 25.65 points or 1.66% to 1,521.24 at the mid-day break, weighed by losses at banking stocks and key blue chips. Losers thumped gainers by 904 to 27, while 100 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.02 billion shares valued at RM1.87 billion.

The ringgit fell 1% to 3.0091 versus the US dollar; crude palm oil futures for the third month delivery fell RM52 per tonne to RM3,039, crude oil lost US$1 per barrel'' to US$85.63 while gold rose US$7.53 an ounce to US$1,654.05.

US stocks on Thursday suffered their worst sell-off in two years. European stocks slumped to a level not seen since after the financial crisis in mid-2009, according to Reuters.

Analysts have cautioned that stocks could sink further, as investors await fresh US jobs data later Friday that could prove decisive in determining if the world's largest economy could hobble into a fresh recession.

US payrolls probably rose by 85,000, according to a Reuters survey, after a measly 18,000 gain in June. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 9.2%, it said.

At the regional markets, Taiwan's Taiex slumped 5.07% to 7,895.45, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 4.75% to 20,844.59, Japan's Nikkei 225 down 3.71% to 9,300.77, Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 3.36% to 3,002.54, South Korea's Kospi down 3.28% to 1,952.22 and the Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.88% to 2,633.52.

On Bursa Malaysia, BAT fell 86 sen to RM45.42, United PLANTATION []s 50 sen to RM20.10, Tradewinds 38 sen to RM9, Dutch Lady and DiGi 34 sen each to RM18.68 and RM29.70, Petronas Gas 24 sen to RM13.10, Petronas Chemicals 22 sen to RM6.69, Petronas Dagangan 12 sen to RM17.20 and MISC 18 sen to RM7.

Among banks, HLFG lost 50 sen to RM12.60; Hong Leong Bank lost 24 sen to RM13.32, RHB Capital fell 23 sen to RM8.99, Public Bank 16 sen to RM13.08, CIMB 14 sen to RM8.26, Maybank 10 sen to RM8.75 and AMMB eight sen to RM6.41.

Catcha Media was the top gainer and added 9.5 sen to 85.5 sen. Other gainers included Atis, Hoover, Focal, UAC, Nilai and Mexter.

Sanichi was the most actively traded counter with 51.85 million shares done. The stock fell 2.5 sen to 8 sen.

Other actives included Axiata, Dutaland, CIMB, DVM, AirAsia, Karambunai, Kencana and Petronas Chemicals.

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