Stocks to Watch* Plantation stocks, KPJ, Ariantec Global, Hap Seng, Astral Asia

KUALA LUMPUR (July 11): The FBM KLCI could inch up on Wednesday, extending its gains to remain firmly above the 1,600-point level. On Tuesday, it rose 3.98 points to 1,624.29, having earlier risen to an intra-day and all-time high of 1,627.50. European shares inched up on Tuesday after the region's finance ministers made limited progress on measures to help embattled Spain, but the euro and commodities fell as signs of a sharp slowdown in China fuelled anxiety about the global economy, according to Reuters. Among the stocks that could be in focus on Wednesday are PLANTATION [] stocks; KPJ HEALTHCARE BHD []; Ariantec Global Bhd; HAP SENG CONSOLIDATED BHD []; and ASTRAL ASIA BHD []. Plantation-related stocks could be in focus as crude palm oil (CPO) prices remain firmly above the RM3,000 per tonne level. KPJ entered into a sale and purchase agreement with parent company Johor Corporation to purchase an 80% equity stake in PT KPJ Medika for RM15.8 million cash. KPJ said this was line with its intention to add two brownfield hospitals in 2012. Hap Seng declared a first interim dividend of 4.5 sen per share under the single-tier system which is tax exempt to be paid on Aug 8. Astral Asia Bhd has secured a RM57.5 million facilitation fund earmarked for the Kuantan Hi-Tech Park, a development within the East Coast Economic Region Special Economic Zone. In a statement Monday, Astral said its 100%-owned Tasja Development Sdn Bhd — the developer of Kulim Hi-Tech Park — entered into an agreement with the government and Bank Pembangunan Malaysia which provides financial assistance for the development, CONSTRUCTION [] and completion of the industrial cluster on a 130ha land. Datuk Raymond Chan Boon Siew ceased to be substantial shareholder in in Ariantec after disposing of 29 million shares in the open market. Filings to Bursa Malaysia Securities on Tuesday showed that Chan had disposed the shares in the open market on July 9. Ariantec was the most actively traded counter with 592 million shares done. The stock fell 1. 5 sen to eight sen.