KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips rose at midday on April 17 in line with key Asian markets, with Proton, BCHB and KL Kepong among the gainers, while crude palm oil (CPO) prices stayed above the RM2,400 level. At 12.30pm, the KL Composite Index had risen 3.62 points to 964.9. Turnover was 610.3 million shares valued at RM534 million. There were 257 gainers, 235 losers and 196 stocks unchanged. Among Asian markets, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.4% to 15,805.1, Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.4% to 1,899.26 and the Nikkei 225 added 0.99% to 8,841.67 but the Shanghai Composite Index eased 0.88% to 2,511.79. CPO for third month delivery rose RM49 to RM2,407. CIMB Equities Research raised its CPO price forecasts by 21% to US$600 per tonne for this year and by 12% to US$660 per tonne next year. The higher forecasts were to account for the persistent drought in major planting areas in South America, weaker-than-expected CPO production, lower import duties for edible oils in India and the higher-than-expected CPO price in 1Q09, it said. “Our local CPO price estimates have also been raised by 22% to RM1,950 per tonne for 2009 and 13% to RM2,150 per tonne for 2010," it said. KL Kepong, Batu Kawan and Sime Darby rose 10 sen each to RM11.30, RM8.40 and RM6.45 respectively but Chin Tek fell 35 sen to RM6.25. Proton was the top gainer, rising 21 sen to RM2.66 with 2.6 million shares done while BCHB added 20 sen to RM8.05. KNM was the most active with 47.9 million shares done, rising one sen to 54 sen while UEM Land gained four sen to RM1.01. Axiata-OR rose 2.5 sen to 60 sen and Axiata three sen to RM1.84. BAT lost 25 sen to RM45.75, DiGi and Tanjong fell 20 sen each to RM21.90 and RM14.10.
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