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After penny stocks, now small-caps in vogue

KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): As the penny stock fever cools, trading interest appears to have shifted to small- and mid-cap companies, with more share price spikes seen across this segment recently.

One company whose shares were among the most sought after this week was loss-making IT company Dataprep Holdings Bhd.

Over the week, Dataprep shares jumped 92.79% or RM1.03 to emerge as the top gainer in percentage change, being only second behind Malaysia Pacific Industries Bhd (MPI) in terms of weekly change by value.

The counter breached the RM2 mark this week and hit a record high of RM2.27 before settling at RM2.14 on Friday, which gave the group a market capitalisation of RM1.29 billion.

Dataprep was one of three companies which received an unusual market activity (UMA) query from Bursa Securities this week.

Also slapped with a UMA query was Artroniq Bhd, formerly Plastrade Technology Bhd (up 24.5 sen or 30.43% to RM1.05 on Friday alone, valuing the group at RM303.38 million).

The other was MPHB Capital Bhd, which hit limit up on Thursday. MPHB booked a gain of 29 sen or 28.43% week-on-week to settle at RM1.31 on Friday, giving it a market capitalisation of RM936.65 million. The group said it was still in negotiations to dispose of its 51% stake in MPI Generali, having received Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) nod in September to start talks.

Other counters that spiked through the week included Landmarks Bhd (up 18.5 sen or 51.39% to 54.5 sen, with a market capitalisation of RM317.07 million) as well as Grand-Flo Bhd, which jumped as high as 75.76% or 25 sen before retreating to settle at 42 sen — still up 8.5 sen or 25.76% — on better results and news of acquisition of land near Genting. The group was valued at RM220.02 million

Several counters also continued to attract trading activities on improved financial results announced late last month, including FGV Holdings Bhd's 51%-owned sugar refinery unit MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, which rose 49 sen or 50% week-on-week to RM1.47. Its share price more than tripled after it posted its first quarterly profit since the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 (3QFY18) on Feb 26.

Shares in port operator MMC Corp Bhd also climbed 24 sen or 30.77% in a week to RM1.02, having posted better-than-expected results for the latest quarter on Feb 26.

On the other hand, semiconductor counters were among the biggest losers this week, following a dip in the US Nasdaq from its record high mid-week weighed on sentiment.

With the exception of MPI, which was Bursa’s top gainer this week (up RM2.40 or 6.49% to RM39.40), the sector’s lead decliners included Bursa’s second largest loser KESM Industries Bhd (down RM1.60 or 10.6% to RM13.50), ViTrox Corp Bhd (down RM1.38 or 8.02% to RM15.82), and Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd or F&N (down RM1.06 or 3.39% to RM30.20).

Meanwhile, notable active counters included tech outfit Dagang NeXchange Bhd (DNeX), which continued its retreat from its February high, trading down 8.5 sen or 11.81% in a week to settle at 63.5 sen with 773.9 million shares traded.

DNeX, which said it was acquiring chipmaker Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd, is also exposed to the oil and gas (O&G) sector, which was among the top traded sectors in the week as oil prices swung to the high US$60s per barrel.

Others top actives in the sector included vessel players Straits Inter Logistics Bhd (up 2.5 sen or 16.22%, with 816.1 million shares traded), Bumi Armada Bhd (up 5.5 sen or 15.19%, with 758.8 million shares traded), and Sealink International Bhd (up four sen or 23.53%, with 617.6 million shares traded).

As for the FBM KLCI, the benchmark index climbed over the week on the back of some recovery seen among banking counters, while glove maker shares traded mixed.

Seven banks were in the green week-on-week, leaving out BIMB Holdings Bhd (down five sen or 1.23% to RM4.01), Affin Bank Bhd (down five sen or 2.84% to RM1.71) and AMMB Holdings Bhd (down 24 sen or 7.59% to RM2.92), with the last sinking after its announcement of a whopping RM2.83 billion 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-related settlement with the government on Feb 26.

Among the glove makers, Supermax Corp Bhd led the retreat week-on-week — despite Thursday's sector-wide rebound. The counter lost 34 sen or 7.02% to settle at RM4.50, followed by Hartalega Holdings Bhd (down 25 sen or 2.5% to RM9.75).

Top Glove Corp Bhd bucked the sell-off to settle up one sen or 0.19% week-on-week at RM5.25 as more directors acquired shares in the company ahead of its anticipated bumper results next Tuesday (March 9).

Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd, which is not among the KLCI constituents, fell 10 sen or 2.53% in a week to RM3.85. The group’s shares went ex-dividend — paying 11 sen per share — on Thursday.


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