Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Muted gains at most Asian markets

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI remained in positive territory at the mid-day break on Wednesday, Oct 19, lifted by gains at select blue chips including the Genting group while a firmer ringgit and improvement in crude palm oil futures provided some buying support.

At 12.30pm, the KLCI was up 0.35% or 5.01 points to 1,444.95'' but off the morning's best of 1,449.90. Gainers led losers by 514 to 131, while 217 counters traded unchanged. The buying was mostly on lower liners and penny stocks as reflected by the surge in volume but value was half of the turnover. Volume was 935.02 million shares valued at RM510.81 million.

The ringgit strengthened 0.73% to 3.1123 versus the US dollar; crude palm oil futures for the third month delivery rose RM24 per tonne to RM2,859, crude oil slipped 18 cents per barrel to US$88.16 while gold gained US$2.30 an ounce to US$1,660.15.

However, the gains at key regional markets were relatively muted as investor sentiment remains tepid, with conflicting news flow on the global economic health sapping confidence. Asian investors became wary after Moody's cut Spain's sovereign ratings by two notches.

Further, Hong Kong's government expects economic growth in the territory to be affected by weaker exports, with gross domestic product anticipated to grow at lower end of its own forecast range.

Financial Secretary John Tsang told reporters in Beijing late on Tuesday that exports to the United States and Europe had declined substantially in recent months, according to Reuters.

"We forecast growth of 5-6% (for 2011). I believe it will be near the lower end of the range," Tsang said when asked if there were any revisions to the official full-year GDP forecast, it said.

At the regional markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 1.25% to 18,302.83, Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.26% to 8,764.60, Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.23% to 2,730.93 and the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.06% to 2,385.03. Taiwan's Taiex fell 0.57% to 7,317.86 and South Korea's Kospi was down 0.01% to 1,838.77.

On Bursa Malaysia, Genting Malaysia rose 18 sen to RM3.68 and GENTING BHD [] added eight sen to RM10.06 ahead of the opening of the Resorts World Casino New York City (RWNY) on Oct 28, October 2011.

Other gainers included HLFG that rose 18 sen to RM11.46, CI Holdings and Kencana 13 sen'' each to RM4.77 and RM2.55, Teck Guan, Petronas Dagangan and AirAsia 12 sen each to RM1.18, RM16.22 and RM3.70, while Dutch Lady and Aeon rose 10 sen each to RM19 and RM7.

Among the losers, Batu Kawan fell 30 sen to RM15, Nestle 26 sen to RM49.10, MBM Resources 19 sen to RM3, APM Automotive and Lafarge Malayan Cement 12 sen each to RM4.67 and RM7.15, Parkson 11 sen to RM5.54, Lysaght and DiGi 10 sen each to RM1.70 and RM31.80, while Hong Leong Bank lost eight sen to RM10.64.

The actives included HWGB, Asiapac, Hubline, Harvest Court, Tiger, Trinity and JCY.

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