KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga, TMI and Maybank’s losses dragged the benchmark KL Composite Index (KLCI) into the red at the midday break on March 16 while a private sector think-tank’s gloomy forecast for the local economy also weighed on the market. At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 2.71 points to 840.74. Turnover was 136 million shares valued at RM195.26 million. There were 113 losers, 188 gainers and 168 counters unchanged. Light crude oil fell US$1.83 to US$44.42 after OPEC said it would maintain output over the weekend while crude palm oil for third-month delivery added RM9 to RM1,939. Among key Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.4% to 7,723.32, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1% to 12,646.31 but Shanghai’s Composite Index fell 0.43% to 2,119.66.Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 1.3% to 1,557.46. Bloomberg reported Singapore’s central bank as saying the island-state’s economy would probably contract more than economists predicted earlier. It expected GDP would contract 4.9% in 2009. In Malaysia, the Malaysian Institute for Economic Research expected the local economy to contract 3.8% this year under a worst-case scenario. The government estimated GDP would range from minus 1% to a best 1% growth this year. Heavyweight Tenaga was the top loser, falling 25 sen to RM5.90 with 1.69 million shares done. TMI fell nine sen to RM2.35 and Maybank two sen to RM3.98. DiGi and Tanjong lost 10 sen each to RM21 and RM14.30. Among plantations, Far East was the top loser, falling 25 sen to RM5.10 with 5,000 shares done while KL Kepong lost 10 sen to RM10.30. Sime Darby rose five sen to RM5.45. Resorts fell eight sen to RM1.85 and it was the most active with 21.2 million shares done. Bina Goodyear was the top gainer, surging 26 sen to 79 sen with 600 shares done MISC added 15 sen to RM8.50 but with only 100 shares done. IJM rose 12 sen to RM3.70 after it was upgraded.
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