Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBMKLCI) rose for a fourth day, adding 5.39, or 0.6 percent, to close at 927.62, its highest level since Oct. 15. Forty-six stocks fell and 37 advanced on the 100-member gauge.
In the market, 744 million shares changed hands, higher than the three-month daily average of 577 million shares. January stock index futures lost 0.4 percent to 924.00.
Plantation stocks: Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd. (KLK) rose 40 sen, or 4 percent, to 10.40 ringgit, the highest level since Sept. 12. Sime Darby Bhd. (SIME) , Malaysia’s biggest palm-oil planter, added 15 sen, or 2.7 percent, to 5.80 ringgit. Palm oil futures in Malaysia jumped 7.8 percent to 1,980 ringgit a metric ton yesterday, the most since Nov. 3. Futures traded at 1,907 ringgit as of 5 p.m. local time.
Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd. (BCHB MK) jumped 50 sen, or 7.7 percent, to 7.00 ringgit, its biggest gain since Jan. 8, 2004. It’s the best performer on the benchmark Composite Index. Credit Suisse Group told investors to buy higher so-called “beta” stocks such as Bumiputra-Commerce. The bank is the “highest beta institutional stock,” Credit Suisse said in a report today. Beta is an indicator of volatility.
British American Tobacco Bhd. (ROTH) dropped 75 sen, or 1.7 percent, to 44 ringgit, the most since Dec. 26. Credit Suisse said in a report today the stock, which “performed so well in 2008 will likely underperform in 2009.”
IJM Corp. (IJM) , Malaysia’s third-largest builder by value, advanced 8 sen, or 2.4 percent, to 3.38 ringgit, the highest level since Oct. 23, after JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its rating on the stock to “overweight” from “neutral.”
Parkson Holdings Bhd. (PKS) slumped 70 sen, or 16 percent, to 3.58 ringgit, the steepest decline since Oct. 17, 2002. Its Beijing-based department store chain unit, Parkson Retail Group Ltd., said sales growth slowed in the fourth quarter as China’s economy cooled.
Top Glove Corp. (TOPG) added 8 sen, or 2 percent, to 4.10 ringgit, its highest level since Sept. 10. The world’s largest rubber-glove maker said fiscal first-quarter profit rose 16 percent to 34.5 million ringgit from 29.8 million ringgit a year earlier. Sales increased 15 percent to 386.1 million ringgit, it said in a statement.
WCT Bhd. (WCT MK) slid 15 sen, or 12 percent, to 1.14 ringgit, its lowest since Oct. 29, extending yesterday’s 30 percent plunge. The stock is the biggest decliner on the benchmark Composite Index. The Malaysian engineering company said its worst-case direct loss from a racecourse contract in Dubai that was canceled is about 300 million ringgit.
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