The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell 9.88, or 1.1 per cent, to close at 889.71, the biggest drop since January 20. Almost six stocks fell for each that rose on the 100-member gauge.
The measure declined 2.1 per cent this week, headed for the first drop in four weeks. February index futures dropped 0.5 per cent to 891.00.
Selling was mild as sentiment improved with the disclosure that the inflation rate for January had eased to 3.9 per cent from 4.4 per cent in December.
Decliners led advancers by 321 to 149 while 193 counters were unchanged,609 untraded and 34 others suspended.
Turnover today was at 370.482 million shares valued at RM601.294 million, an increase from the 334.989 million shares valued at RM595.489 million yesterday.
Southern Steel Bhd, a steel producer, dropped 4.2 per cent to RM1.36, the largest decline since January 21, after the company reported its biggest quarterly loss in at least nine years. The company had a loss of RM259.8 million (US$71 million) in the fourth quarter from a profit of RM79.9 million a year earlier, after a writedown in the value of its inventories as steel prices dropped.
Other steel rivals retreated. Kinsteel Bhd lost 3.6 per cent to 40.5 sen. Lion Industries Corp slid 3.8 per cent to 64 sen. Ann Joo Resources Bhd declined 4 per cent to RM1.20.
Equine Capital Bhd slid 2.8 per cent to 34.5 sen, the lowest close since February 12. The Malaysian property developer said its fiscal third-quarter loss widened to RM22.6 million from RM2.4 million a year earlier. Sales dropped to RM14.5 million from RM20.7 million, it said in a statement.
IJM Corp rose 1.7 per cent to RM3.60, the most in a week, amid speculation its group led by Shimizu Corp. has secured the tunneling portion of the RM5 billion interstate water transfer project. IJM managing director Krishnan Tan didn’t answer his mobile phone for comment.
MK Land Holdings Bhd climbed 3.1 per cent to 16.5 sen, the biggest gainer on the benchmark Composite Index. The developer said it reported a profit of RM5.2 million in the second quarter ended December 31, compared with a loss of RM9.8 million a year earlier.
Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd dropped 6.5 per cent to 86 sen, its fifth day of declines, making it the biggest loser on the benchmark Composite Index. Credit Agricole Asset Management SA sold 600,000 shares in the Malaysian builder, cutting its stake to 5.9 per cent, according to a stock exchange filing. - Agencies