The benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell for a third day, losing 3.30 points, or 0.4 per cent, to close at 895.23, the lowest level since February 12. Forty-three stocks dropped and 30 rose on the 100-member gauge.
February index futures climbed 0.7 per cent to 893.00.
Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd, Malaysia’s third-biggest bank, declined 0.8 per cent to RM6.45, the lowest level since February 4. The bank may report a larger drop in 2008 profit because of an increase in bad-debt provisions at its Indonesian unit, AmResearch Sdn Bhd said after a meeting with management. Bumiputra-Commerce may post an 11 per cent decline in profit to RM1.98 billion (US$540 million) in 2008 from a year earlier, about 6 per cent lower than AmResearch’s earlier forecast of RM2.1 billion, it said in a note today.
Boustead Heavy Industries Corp declined 1.1 per cent to RM2.66, the lowest in a week. The shipbuilding company said fourth-quarter profit dropped 69 per cent to RM14.9 million as operating costs jumped. Sales surged 64 per cent to RM169.3 million, the company said in a statement.
IOI Corp dropped 2.4 per cent to RM3.72, the most in a week, after its shares went ex-dividend, meaning that investors buying the shares from today won’t be entitled to its interim single-tier dividend of 3 sen a share.
Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd slid 4.3 per cent to RM9.95, the lowest close since February 4. It’s the second-worst performer on the benchmark Composite Index. Malaysia’s third- biggest palm-oil producer may write down its stake in Yule Catto & Co by RM133 million (US$36 million) after the chemical maker’s shares sank, RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd said. The charge, which may be announced today with Kepong’s results for the first quarter ended December 31, might wipe out 20 per cent of projected annual profit, RHB analyst Hoe Lee Leng said in a report today.
Malayan Banking Bhd added 1.9 per cent to RM5.50. Malaysia’s biggest lender may revive a plan to merge its Islamic banking unit with Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, the Business Times reported, citing people it didn’t identify. Maybank, as Malayan Banking is called, is considering reviving a 2004 plan to merge the two companies, the newspaper said. The parties involved are still discussing how best they can implement such a proposal, the report said.
Tenaga Nasional Bhd rose 1.6 per cent to RM6.20, its first gain in three days. Malaysia’s state-controlled power utility said it plans to repurchase as much as US$300 million of notes and debentures in the next six months to help cut debt. Tenaga has repurchased and canceled US$165.3 million of notes and debentures, which will cut its total debt by about 2.6 per cent to RM23.4 billion, it said in a statement. - AFP, Bloomberg