Volume surges to 1.66b units

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KUALA LUMPUR: Turnover on Bursa Malaysia surged to 1.66 billion units on April 15, the highest since January last year, as trading interest spilled over from blue chips to lower liners and penny stocks.The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) closed 2.97 points higher at 956.68, the highest since mid-October last year, underpinned by fund buying of heavyweights like Malayan Banking Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd and smaller capitalised stocks like EON Capital Bhd.The trading volume on April 15 was valued at RM1.39 billion, reflecting the heightened interest in lower liners and penny stocks.While the KLCI was in the red for most of the day, sustained buying of Maybank in the late afternoon pushed the 100-stock index into positive territory and to an intra-day high of 961.18. Interest in regional markets also perked up slightly, after investors shrugged off the weaker overnight close on Wall Street. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 0.57% higher at 15,669.62, Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.47% to 1,905.99 but Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.13% to 8,742.96.OSK Investment Bank Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Ong Leong Huat said the recent rise in global stock markets was due to oversold positions in equities during the past one year, and was unlikely to be driven by true economic fundamentals. “This essentially means investors who had disposed of their shares in recent months, now have a substantial amount of money, which could have been pushed back into global equities in recent days. This is a bear rally and it is liquidity driven,” he said, after OSK Holdings Bhd’ shareholders meeting on April 15.Analysts had expected the surge in volume would help drive the benchmark index to at least 970, the highest level in six months.AmResearch said Malaysia was in an extended bear rally from a vicious liquidity cycle. It expected the pent-up buying from an improving risk appetite to sustain this run. In a recent report, it said the real economy was deteriorating at slower pace with policy response from governments globally having been swift and aggressive thus putting a floor to financial markets. “Malaysia’s political landscape is on the mend and we are upgrading our year-end fair value from 800 to 1,050,” it said. The recent  surge in crude palm oil (CPO) price also helped underpin consumers sentiment in plantation stocks, with interest switching to smaller capitalised stocks. CPO for third-month delivery closed RM40 or 1.64% lower at RM2,398 on April 15 after a surge the previous day when it jumped 6.44% or RM148 to RM2,438.KNM Group Bhd was the most active with 135.62 million shares done, rising five sen to 55 sen. RHB Research Institute said KNM expected its order book to rise from RM3.9 billion as customers begin to place orders to lock in lower prices for process equipment while the cycle is still at the bottom.The research house said while average selling prices for KNM had fallen 10%, its margins for financial years ending Dec 31, 2009 (FY09) and 2010 would still be resilient given the lower material costs from falling steel and crude oil prices and higher mix of higher-end products.Axiata Group Bhd’s entitlement to the rights shares Axiata-OR fell nine sen to 56 sen on its first trading day. It was the second most active with 92.44 million units done.Sino Hua-An International Bhd, which had been under the radar for months, came under heavy trading with 56.5 million shares done. It rose 3.5 sen to 28 sen.Other heavily-traded stocks were UEM Land Holdings Bhd (60.34 million shares), which rose 2.5 sen to 96 sen, Mulpha International Bhd (45.7 million) one sen higher to 37.5 sen while Tebrau Teguh Bhd (37.45 million) added 2.5 sen to 52.5 sen.Iris Corp Bhd (37.1 million) added two sen to 12.5 sen while Time dotcom Bhd (30.13 million) edged up one sen to 30.5 sen.Among the gainers were StemLife Bhd, which is the pioneer and largest stem cell bank in Malaysia, Batu Kawan Bhd, Ann Joo Resources Bhd, Sunrise Bhd, Maybank, Sunway City Bhd and EONCap.StemLife jumped 25 sen to 98 sen despite the absence of fresh corporate news. It is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of nearly 99 times. It posted net profit of RM150,000 in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2008 while for the year, its net profit was RM1.5 million.Batu Kawan and DiGi rose 20 sen each to RM8.40 and RM22, Sunrise and Ann Joo 19 sen each to RM1.43 and RM1.59. Maybank and SunCity advanced 18 sen each to RM4.32 and RM1.98 while EONCap added 14 sen to RM3.30.