Plantation stocks up, banks down

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KUALA LUMPUR: Plantation stocks rose in the afternoon session on March 12, buoyed by remarks of firmer crude palm oil (CPO) futures prices at least in the near term, but bank stocks continued to slide. At 3.12pm, the KL Composite Index was down 12.2 points to 838.17, the worst in recent weeks. Turnover was 222.32 million shares valued at RM314 million. NSOP was the top gainer, up 34 sen to RM3.80 while United Plantations rose 10 sen to RM10.70 and KL Kepong 10 sen higher also to RM10.10 but IOI Corp shed six sen to RM3.70. Diversified conglomerate Sime Darby shed 15 sen to RM5.40. Among the major losers were Public Bank foreign, down 30 sen to RM6.90 and Public Bank fell 25 sen to RM7.05 while Maybank lost 24 sen to RM4.10. At a conference on the palm oil sector outlook, Godrej Industries Ltd director Dorab Mistry said CPO prices would trade around RM2,000 in the next few weeks and might even reach RM2,100. However, over a long term until October, CPO prices could retrace and decline to RM1,500 due to higher production in the second half. LMC International chairman James Fry forecast CPO price could be at RM1,500 six months from as he was more bearish in view of the growing fears of recession. Fry said energy price would fall due to the recession and this would also impact CPO prices.