KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips eased in early trade on Aug 26, led by Maybank but the broader market was firmer on interest in lower liners and penny stocks.

At 10.34am, the FBM KLCI eased 0.89 point to 1,170.2. Turnover was 176 million shares valued at RM181.66 million. There were 207 gainers, 168 losers and 169 counters unchanged.

Light crude oil fell 7 cents to US$71.98.

Among key Asian stocks, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.64% to 10,564.56, Hang Seng Index added 0.3% to 20,496.99, Shanghai's Composite Index gained 0.15% to 2,920.18 but Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.19% to 2,613.7.

HwangDBS Vickers Research said it expected the FBM KLCI will probably range bound with a marginal positive bias while waiting for a barrage of news flows to come in later in the day.

"Essentially, investors will be busy checking out the following economic data. They are the 2Q09 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report, with the Malaysian economy likely to show a negative growth (down 5.2% on-year) according to one media survey) after registering an annual contraction of 6.2% in 1Q09," it said.

Other data are banking statistics for July; and net portfolio investment flows in Malaysian equities in 2Q09, which has recorded a deficit trend since 3Q07, added the research house.

Meanwhile, on the corporate front, more financial result announcements for the April to June quarter are on the way this evening. They include from the likes of IOI Corporation and the Genting group.

At Bursa, Maybank fell eight sen to RM6.44 after posting weaker earnings for FY09 ended June 30.
Huat Lai fell 24.5 sen to 50.5 sen with 13,000 units done, Batu Kawan lost 16 sen to RM9.20 and Panasonic Malaysia 14 sen to RM12 while Petra Perdana lost eight sen to RM2.60.

Yun Kong-WA was the most active with 13.9 million units done, rising 3.5 sen to 19.5 sen while the shares added six sen to 47 sen. MPHB added 12 sen to RM2.07.
Nestle was the top gainer, rising 34 sen to RM33.78, AIRB added 13 sen to RM1.15 while CCB rose 12 sen to RM2.97 and Vitrox 11.5 sen to 48.5 sen.


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