The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell 6.96 points to close at 873.41, its seventh day of declines, the longest losing streak since July 8. More than two stocks declined for each that rose on the 100-member measure.
In the market, 366 million shares changed hands, lower than the three-month daily average of 552 million shares. January index futures slid 0.7 per cent to 872.50.
Dealers said regional markets were also lower, mirroring Wall Street’s overnight performance which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell four per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index down 5.78 per cent.
One of the dealers said that investors, especially foreign players, are in a holiday mood and are expected to go for a long break.
“Most investors were reluctant to hold fresh positions ahead of Lunar New Year holiday next week,” he said.
According to MIMB Investment Bank, Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President of the United States could not make the stock market shake off its dejection over the rapidly deteriorating state of the banking sector.
IOI Corp, Malaysia’s second biggest planter, dropped 12 sen, or 3.2 per cent, to RM3.68, the lowest this year. Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd fell 6 sen, or 3 per cent, to RM1.94, the lowest close since December 16. Far East Holdings Bhd retreated 20 sen, or 4 per cent, the lowest level since October 30. Palm oil futures in Malaysia fell as much as 1.9 per cent, the second day of declines.
Aeon Co fell 14 sen, or 3.4 per cent, to RM3.96, the steepest drop since December 24. The Malaysian unit of Japanese retailer Aeon Co said it’s still negotiating with See Hoy Chan Holdings on the renewal of its lease in the first phase of One Utama shopping complex in Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. Aeon was responding to a New Straits Times report that said See Hoy Can wants to run its own mall.
Lafarge Malayan Cement Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest cement producer, slid for a fifth day, losing 2 sen, or 0.6 per cent, to RM3.48, its lowest level since December 17. That’s also its longest losing streak since October 10. Fourth-quarter profit “might be weak” on slowing demand and higher coal cost, while 2009 earnings could contract by 9 per cent amid price competition, HwangDBS Vickers Research Sdn Bhd said in a report today.
UMW Holdings Bhd added 5 sen, or 0.9 per cent, to RM5.50, the most since January 14. The automaker said it plans to spend RM600 million to expand its oil and gas business, the Star newspaper reported, citing chief executive officer Abdul Halim Harun. UMW will use bank borrowings and internal funds for the capital expenditure, the report said. - Agencies