Published: Tuesday January 29, 2013 MYT 5:50:00 PM

KLCI ekes out marginal gains as investors take profit

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia blue chips lost ground following the lack of leads from regional markets, dipping into the red momentarily on Tuesday before some buying of plantations enabled the FBM KLCI to eke out a small gain.

At the close, the KLCI was up just 0.21 of a point to 1,637.34. Turnover was 1.14 billion shares valued at RM1.66bil.

The broader market displayed weakness with 253 gainers, 473 losers and 312 counters unchanged.

Reuters reported European shares consolidated near two-year highs on Tuesday and oil prices steadied as investors awaited data on the strength of U.S. economy and a Federal Reserve policy decision later in the week.

The wire report said most markets for riskier assets have risen solidly this year - despite only modest global growth - due to robust corporate earnings reports, signs of an end to the euro zone crisis and renewed momentum in the US and Chinese economies.

But particularly in the equity markets, where many major indexes are close to multi-year highs, investors are looking for reassurance that a lasting economic recovery is underway, Reuters said.

Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.39% to 10,866.72; Shanghai's Composite Index gained 0.53% to 2,358.98 and Taiwan's Taiex rose 1.13% to 7,802.00 while South Korea's Kospi added 0.84% to 1,955.96.

However, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.07% to 23,655.17 and Singapore's Straits Times Index eased 0.4% to 3,259.75.

Crude palm oil for third-month futures rose RM30 to RM2,475. Sime Darby rose eight sen to RM9.37 and pushed the KLCI up 1.11 points, PPB Group added 30 sen to RM12.70, KL Kepong 20 sen to RM22.06 and IOI Corp six sen higher at RM4.99 but Genting Plantations lost 35 sen to RM8.20.

Bumi Armada and UMW gained six sen each to RM3.83 and RM12.16 while among the banks, CIMB added three sen to RM7.24 and Maybank one sen to RM8.91.

F&N was the top gainer, rising 32 sen to RM18.30 on investors expectations for the company.

Faber rose 12 sen to RM1.51, the highest since March last year after it secured the government hospital support services contracts.

BAT fell the most, down RM1.28 to RM57.06, Dutch Lady 18 sen to RM42.52 while Aeon Credit shed 16 sen to RM10.80.

The ringgit was quoted at 3.0777 to the US dollar from 3.0833 in the previous close.

US light crude oil rose 31 cents to US$96.75 but Brent shed two sen to US$113.46. Spot gold added US$6.75 to US$1,662.36.

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