KUALA LUMPUR: The market caught a second wind in the late afternoon on April 20, powered by some fund buying of Proton Holdings Bhd, DRB-Hicom Bhd and Genting Bhd, to enable the KL Composite Index (KLCI) to notch its eighth straight day of gains.However, despite the gains, some signs of consolidation in the broader market were apparent while volume continued to shrink.Speculation that Proton would inject its distribution business into DRB-Hicom Bhd’s 79%-owned Edaran Otomobil Nasional Bhd also spurred interest in the national carmaker and DRB-Hicom.The KLCI closed 3.2 points, or 0.33%, higher at 968.37. Turnover fell to 796.46 million units (from nearly one billion units last Friday) valued at RM883.54 million. Declining counters led advancers 327 to 233 while 198 stocks were unchanged.Key Asian markets closed mostly higher, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index up 0.96% at 15,750.91, the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.14% to 2,557.46 and Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.19% to 8,924.75. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 1.14% to 1,874.85. However, European markets were weaker in early trade, notching losses of between 1.1% and 2.34%. Crude palm oil futures rose RM11 to RM2,446 while light crude oil slipped to a one-month low, down US$2.14 to US$48.17.Analysts said the market rally was slowing down, as turnover continued to shrink, from nearly two billion units on Thursday and one billion units on Friday. However, the absence of negative news helped sustain buying interest, albeit at lower volume.Jupiter Securities Research head Pong Teng Siew said the sustained increase in Proton’s share price also helped spur buying in the afternoon.At the launch of the multi-purpose vehicle Exora last week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak urged the national carmaker to seriously consider a strategic partnership to improve its product offering and to tackle future challenges.Back in 2006, Proton had held talks with potential foreign partners — Volkswagen, General Motors and PSA Peugeot — but none of these had materialised.Pong expected an overall consolidation in the market after a good run last week. “I am expecting some profit taking today (April 21) after the two million units traded last Thursday,” he added.“The consensus among analysts here is that it is a bear market rally and we expect volume to decline as investors lock in gains,” he said.Proton closed 34 sen higher at RM2.99 with 3.27 million shares done while DRB-Hicom added 22.5 sen to RM1.08 with 25.37 million shares traded.Other gainers were AEON Credit Services Bhd, up 33 sen to RM3.06 as HwangDBS Vickers Research maintained a buy on the stock with a lower target price of RM3.90 following its strong earnings and sound fundamentals.
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