Friday, January 2, 2009

Planters' Gains Lift KLCI 2pc Higher

MALAYSIAN shares rose 2.0 per cent today in line with stronger regional bourses, as blue chips were snapped up on the year’s first trading day, dealers said. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index rose 17.61 points to close at 894.36, the best opening day of any year since 2000. Eight stocks gained for every one that fell on the 100-member measure.

The gauge jumped 3.4 per cent in the holiday-shortened week, the biggest weekly gain since November 7. The stock market was closed on December 29 and yesterday for public holidays. The benchmark index fell 39 per cent in 2008, its steepest annual decline since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when it slumped 52 per cent.

Dealers said the bourse was bolstered by strong gains in plantation stocks as crude palm oil futures hit a 10-week high. “There was more buying interest than we expected, and it was sustained through the day,” a dealer with a local brokerage said. “This indicates that we may see some follow-through buying next week,” he said, adding that the index could rise to test 900 points on Monday.

Traders said local funds were continuing to accumulate stocks despite concerns the market could see a bout of selling in the new year after share prices rose more than 3.0 per cent in December on year-end window dressing. IOI Corp, Malaysia’s second largest palm oil producer, rose 34 sen, or 10 per cent, to RM3.90, its highest since October 6. Sime Darby Bhd climbed 20 sen, or 3.9 per cent, to RM5.40. Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd advanced 70 sen, or 7.9 per cent, to RM9.60.

Palm oil futures in Malaysia added as much as 3 per cent today, extending a four-day, 11 per cent rally amid gains in crude oil. KFC Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest fast-food operator, climbed 15 sen, or 2 per cent, to RM7.60, its highest close since November 13, 2007.

Aseambankers Malaysia Bhd said in a report today investors should buy KFC for its earnings resilience and “respectable” dividend yields. KFC was last year’s best performer on the benchmark Composite Index with a 16 per cent gain. Gamuda Bhd advanced 8 sen, or 4.2 per cent, to RM1.97, its highest since October 7.

The Employees Provident Fund bought 2 million shares in Malaysia’s second biggest builder, a stock exchange filing showed, lifting its stake in the company to 6.5 per cent. Top Glove Corp, the world’s biggest rubber glove maker, added 14 sen, or 4 per cent, to RM3.64, the largest gain since May 7. Malaysian glove makers said they expect global demand for rubber gloves, especially medical gloves, to increase this year, the Star newspaper reported today.

UEM Land Holdings Bhd advanced 4 sen, or 7.5 per cent, to 57.5 sen, its steepest increase since December 18. The property developer said it agreed to buy 98 acres of land in Cyberjaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, for RM102.5 million. UEM is buying the land from Cyberview Sdn Bhd and Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd, it said in a statement. UEM plans to build homes on the land with a gross development value of RM1.5 billion over nine years, it said. - Agencies

Article from Business

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