Asian mkts off early lows, Maybank at historic low

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KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets ended the morning session off their early lows on March 3 on some buying support for oversold counters.   However at Bursa, banks stocks continued to give up gains, with Maybank at a historic low after dividends and share split, down 10 sen to RM4.86. At midday, the KL Composite Index was down 0.91% or 7.96 points to 868.60. Turnover was 200 million shares valued at RM285 million. Declining counters beat advancers 253 to 93 while 166 stocks were unchanged. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.48% or 182 points to 12,134.75, Japan’s Nikkei 225 0.76% lower at 7,224.47 while the Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.26% to 2,067.06. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.2% to 1,536.44. Crude palm oil futures inched up RM2 to RM1,926. The ringgit was quoted at RM3.71 against the US dollar. DFZ, which operated the duty-free shops, skidded 38 sen to RM3.48. MISC-foreign fell 20 sen to RM8.30, BAT 25 sen to RM44.50, PIW 20 sen to RM3.14, KL Kepong declined 15 sen to RM9.75, Taliworks 14 sen lower to RM1.70. Bank stocks continued to ease with Public Bank down and Public Bank foreign down 10 sen each to RM8.40 and RM8.30 respectively. KNM was the most active with 20.5 million shares done, ending the morning flat at 36.5 sen. IOI Corp fell six sen to RM3.60 and Muhibbah 1.5 sen to 73.5 sen. MBM Resources rose 29 sen to RM2.49 with 1,000 shares done. Shangri-La added 19 sen to RM1.67, Bina Puri 10 sen to 90 sen and JTI six sen to RM4.76.