The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index rose for the first time in eight days, adding 5.61 points, or 0.6 per cent, to close at 879.02, snapping its longest losing streak since July 8. Forty-two stocks fell and 38 climbed on the 100- member measure.
In the market, 372 million shares changed hands, lower than the three-month daily average of 549 million shares. January index futures added 0.1 per cent to 873.50.
Malayan Banking Bhd, the No. 1 lender, added 20 sen, or 3.9 per cent, to RM5.30, the most since December 10, leading banks higher. Malaysia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by the most in more than a decade, easing concerns bad loans will accelerate amid a slowing economy. It also cut the amount of money lenders need to set aside as reserves. Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd rose 10 sen, or 1.7 per cent, to RM6.10.
The move will “reduce non-performing loan risk and boost portfolio values,” RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd said in a report today. “We’re taking a contrarian view that it is slightly positive.”
Sime Darby Bhd added 10 sen, or 1.9 per cent, to RM5.40, accounting for a third of the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index’s gain. Far East Holdings Bhd added 20 sen, or 4.2 per cent, to RM5, the largest increase since November 3. Palm oil futures in Malaysia climbed as much as 3 per cent, its first gain in three days.
Parkson Holdings Bhd rose 6 sen, or 1.9 per cent, to RM3.22, its second day of gains. The company, which operates a chain of department stores in Malaysia, China and Vietnam, plans to open 10 more outlets in China, the Business Times reported, citing a company official. Parkson, which runs 40 shops in China, wants to register a double- digit growth in sales in the country, the newspaper said, citing managing director William Cheng.
Sarawak Energy Bhd climbed 8 sen, or 4.1 per cent, to RM2.04, the steepest gain since December 24. Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Sarawak Energy have won government approval to take over the operation of the Bakun hydroelectric dam project through a leasing agreement. The two companies will take over the operation from Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd and also develop the power transmission system from Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia, they said in separate statements. Tenaga rose 5 sen, or 0.8 per cent, to RM6.05.
TM International Bhd fell 16 sen, or 4.5 per cent, to RM3.38, the most since December 5. The state owned mobile phone operator said it’s looking to either sell shares or issue an equity-linked instrument to help raise funds. It hasn’t decided on the structure yet, it said in a statement. It was responding to media reports citing its main shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd as saying that TM may implement a rights offer or an equity-linked security. - Bloomberg