Thursday, November 17, 2011

KLCI remains in red, Proton halts advance

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI stayed in negative territory at the mid-day break on Thursday, Nov 17 as some of the regional markets pared down earlier losses on bargain hunting activities.

Investor sentiment at Asian markets remains fragile as Fitch Ratings warned that it may reduce its "stable" rating outlook for U.S. banks with large capital markets businesses because of contagion from problems in troubled European markets.

The FBM KLCI was down 5.65 points to 1,471.19 at 12.30pm. Losers led gainers by 339 to 238, while 271 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 799.72 million shares valued at RM458.69 million.

The ringgit weakened 0.22% to 3.1593 versus the US dollar; crude palm oil futures for the third month delivery rose RM15 per tonne to RM3,256, crude oil fell 38 cents per barrel to US$102.21 while gold slipped US$2.82 an ounce to US$1,760.55.

At the regional markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.88% to 18,793.28, Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 0.65% to 2,789.09 and Taiwan's Taiex shed 0.16% to 7,375.50.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.08% to 8,469.66, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.03% to 2,467.67 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.34% to 1,862.46.

On Bursa Malaysia, Proton fell 20 sen to RM3.33 with 2.07 million shares done, halting its swift rise since Monday on speculation that it was a possible target for a takeover.

The shares retreated after CIMB Research in a note Nov 17 maintained its Neutral rating on the stock and said a management buy-out might not help to address immediately the structural issues plaguing the company.

'Investors should stay on the sidelines. Over the short- to medium-term, there is lingering risk from Lotus's turnaround exercise. We retain our target price and recommendation pending further clarity on this matter,' said the research house.

Among the other decliners, BAT fell 46 sen to RM46.54, Harvest Court lost 44 sen to RM1.05, Amtel and Nestle 12 sen each to 69.5 sen and RM49.10, CIMB 11 sen to RM6.95, Utusan 9.5 sen to 72.5 sen while Maybank fell nine sen to RM8.30.

Sumatec was the most actively traded counter with 34.4 million shares done. The stock added five sen to 19.5 sen.

Other actives included DPS Resources, Compugates, TMC Life, Karambunai, Tricubes and Asia EP.

Gainers included Amway, Dutch Lady, Metrod, Ekovest, Kretam, TDM, Kuchai and MAHB.

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