The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index lost 9.87 points to close at 913.70, with decliners outnumbering advancing stocks 323 to 155.
“The decline on Wall Street overnight was the main trigger for today’s selldown,” a dealer said.
“The market was looking a bit stretched after recent gains and this provided a good opportunity to lock-in some gains,” the dealer added.
Malayan Banking Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest bank, dropped 10 sen, or 1.8 per cent, to RM5.60, the most since December 31. RHB Capital Bhd, Malaysia’s fourth-biggest bank, slid 16 sen, or 3.8 per cent, to RM4.02. Alliance Financial Group Bhd slid 11 sen, or 5.5 per cent, to RM1.88, the second-largest decliner on the benchmark Composite Index.
Citigroup Inc cut its 2009 earnings estimates for Malaysian banks by an average 23 per cent today, saying investors should sell banks as the country will slide into a recession in the first quarter.
IOI Corp, Malaysia’s second biggest palm oil producer, dropped 20 sen, or 5 per cent, to RM3.80, the lowest level since December 31. Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd slid 15 sen, or 1.5 per cent, to RM9.85. Tradewinds Plantation Bhd fell 10 sen, or 6.3 per cent, to RM1.48, the worst performer on the Composite Index. Aseambankers Malaysia Bhd, in a report today, cut its rating on the Malaysian plantation sector to “underweight” from “neutral” as share prices have “run ahead of short-term fundamentals.” Palm oil futures in Malaysia tumbled as much as 9.6 per cent today.
Gamuda Bhd dropped 6 sen, or 3.1 per cent, to RM1.90. Shares of Malaysia’s second biggest builder by market value went ex-dividend, meaning that investors buying the stock from today won’t be entitled to its first interim dividend.
Petronas Dagangan Bhd slid 30 sen, or 3.9 per cent, to RM7.40, the largest drop since October 6. The stock was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” at Macquarie Group Ltd.
SapuraCrest Petroleum Bhd lost 1.5 sen, or 1.7 per cent, to 85 sen. The oil and gas services provider said it extended by a month a deadline to complete terms of a shareholder agreement related to a joint-venture with AP Prakash Shipping Co to build and finance a vessel.
Among advancing stocks, Naim rose 6.7 per cent to RM1.44 and Media Prima was 2.8 per cent stronger at RM1.10. - AFP, Bloomberg