KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets rallied in the morning session on March 13, as investors clung on the hopes of a quicker China economic recovery while at Bursa Malaysia, KL Kepong, Sime and Public Bank were the gainers. At 12.30pm, the KL Composite Index was up 6.04 points or 0.72% to 844.43. Turnover was 134.6 million shares valued at RM181.96 million. There 185 gainers, 164 losers and 180 counters unchanged. Asian markets rallied, aided by comments from Bank of America it was profitable in January and February and should be able to ride out the recession without any additional help from taxpayers. Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 4.81% to 7,544.53, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 3.6% to 12,431.97 and Singapore’s Straits Times Index jumped 3.5% to 1,545.28. Shanghai’s Composite Index rose 0.62% to 2,147.08. Light crude oil fell 24 cents to US$46.79 but crude palm oil third-month futures rose RM39 to RM1,919. The ringgit was quoted at RM3.6955 to the US dollar. The firmer CPO prices saw KLK rising 30 sen to RM10.30, Sime Darby 15 sen to RM5.55 while IOI Corp rose four sen to RM3.78. Public Bank and its foreign shares rose 10 sen each to RM7.15 and RM6.95. Maybank, which fell for 11 straight days, was unchanged at RM4.06. According to Bloomberg data, of the 24 analysts polled, 18 had sell calls on Maybank, five had hold recommendation and one buy. BAT rose 75 sen to RM44.50, Tanjong 20 sen to RM14.20 while F&N, whose shares were hammered after the deal with Coca-Cola would not be renewed, added 20 sen to RM7.90. S&P Setia added eight sen to RM3.26. Resorts was the most active with 8.69 million shares done, adding one sen to RM1.93. LCL, which secured three contracts worth more than RM100 million in Singapore, rose four sen to 37.5 sen. NSOP was the top loser, down 34 sen to RM3.46 with 1,000 shares. LPI and Magna fell 10 sen each to RM8.40 and RM1.90.
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