Published: Thursday February 7, 2013 MYT 1:33:00 PM

Investors slightly relieved as KLCI recovers from sharp fall

By Joseph Chin

KUALA LUMPUR: Investors had an early scare on Thursday when the FBM KLCI fell below the important 1,600-level in early trade but some fund buying enabled the 30-stock index to recover at midday.

At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 0.77 of a point or 0.05% to 1,631.37 but off the low of 1,597. Turnover was 445.08 million shares valued at RM734.84mil. Losers led gainers 321 to 175 while 279 counters were unchanged.

Reuters reported Asian shares and the euro paused on Thursday, with investors seeking clues from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on growth prospects for the euro zone economy at a policy meeting later in the day, amid optimism that the worst may be over.

Japanese equities underperformed Asian bourses as a break in the yen selling pulled them from Wednesday's four-year peak. But shorter-dated Japanese government debt rallied, sending two-year JGB yields to their lowest since September 2002 at 0.030 percent, on expectations that the central bank will cut interest rates to zero, said Reuters.

Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.11% to 11,336.04; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gave up 0.44% to 23,155.03; Shanghai's Composite Index lost 1.31% 2,402.48 and South Korea's Kospi 0.12% lower at 1,933.81 while Singapore's Straits Times Index eased 0.55% to 3,258.63. Taiwan's Taiex bucked the trend to inch up 0.25% to 7,906.65.

Crude palm oil for third-month futures rose RM19 to RM2,566. However, heavyweight plantation player IOI Corp fell nine sen to RM4.77 and dragged the KLCI down 1.33 points. Batu Kawan 14 sen to RM18.42, PPB lost 10 sen to RM12.06 and FGV four sen to RM4.50 while smaller players like Far East and UMCCA shed 10 sen to RM7.10 and RM6.90.

Among the consumer stocks, Dutch Lady lost 40 sen to RM42.30 and BAT 28 sen to RM57.62 while F&N was down 14 sen to RM17.96.

UMW was down eight sen to RM12.12, Tenaga and Petronas Gas six sen each to RM6.93 and RM18.32.

China Automobile was the most active with 41.20 million shares done, sliding 7.5 sen to 44.5 sen. MBf Holdings rose two sen to RM1.50, which was the takeover offer price.

Among the finance-related stocks, RHB Cap and HLFG fell six sen each to RM7.60 and RM13.44 but Public Bank gained four sen to RM2.77.

DiGi gained 12 sen to RM4.78 with 16.47 million shares done, off the early low of RM4.54. Axiata added five sen to RM6.21 and Astro two sen to RM2.77.

The ringgit was quoted at 3.0980 to the US dollar, weakening from the 3.0971 the previous day.

US light crude oil rose 15 cents to US$96.77 and Brent 11 cents up to US$116.84 while spot gold added US$1.73 to RM1,679.30.

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