Thursday, 11 February 2016 | MYT 1:07 PM
Ringgit strengthens but equities market lacklustre
A woman looks at an electronic billboard displaying the Hang Seng Index numbers in Hong Kong, China, 11 February 2016. The Hang Seng Index slumped 3.8 percent in the morning as markets reopened following a three-day trading break, headed for their worst start to a lunar new year since 1994 . EPA
KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit firmed up against several major currencies at midday on Thursday while the country’s industrial output expanded at a stronger pace but the equities market was lacklustre, tracking the weaker key Asian markets.
At midday, the FBM KLCI was down 2.63 points or 0.16% to1,641.78. Turnover was 644.83 million shares valued at RM483.41mil. There were 195 gainers, 379 losers and 266 stocks unchanged.
The ringgit firmed up to 4.1070 to the US dollar from 4.1217 and it edged up against the pound sterling to 5.9696 from 5.9825 and was quoted at 2.9559 against the Singapore dollar from the 2.9585 the previous day.
The Statistics Department announced December’s industrial output expanded at a faster pace of 2.7% exceeding a forecast of just 1% growth.
Despite the firmer currency and stronger-than-expected industrial output, trading volume on Bursa Malaysia was relatively thin amid concerns from the external equities markets such as Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore.
Weighing down the KLCI were Axiata, Maybank and Maxis. Axiata fell nine sen to RM5.59 and erased 1.32 points from the KLCI while Maxis lost six sen to RM6.15, Digi five sen to RM4.83 and Telekom Malaysia three sen to RM6.59.
Among the banks, Maybank fell seven sen to RM8.52 and wiped out 1.14 points. Hong Leong Bank lost 10 sen to RM13, RHB Cap six sen to RM5.29 and Public Bank four sen lower at RM18.44 but CIMB eked out one sen to RM4.10.
Crude palm oil for third-month delivery added RM2 to RM2,569 per tonne. Sime Darby added six sen to RM7.74, IOI Corp five sen to RM4.59, KL Kepong four sen to RM23 but PPB Group was down two sen to RM15.66.
US light crude oil fell 45 cents to US$27 and Brent 23 cents to US$30.61. Petronas Dagangan added 10 sen to RM25 and Petronas Chemicals four sen to RM6.98 but Petronas Gas lost four sen to RM22.28. SapuraKencana shed one sen to RM1.78.
Chip burn-in tester KESM fell the most, down 29 sen to RM4.43 on weaker outlook for semiconductors. Globetronics was 11 sen to RM5.52.
Among the consumer stocks, Ajinomoto lost 25 sen to RM8.60, Nestle 20 sen to RM74.80 but Dutch Lady added 60 sen to RM50.40 and F&N 16 sen to RM19.06.
Furniture marker Latitude Tree lost 16 sen to RM6.51, Can-One 12 sen to RM4.23.
MAHB recouped some of the recent losses to added 23 sen to RM5.86.
Among the key regional markets,
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 3.95% to 18,526.03;
Hang Seng China Enterprise lost 4.83% to 7,665.74;
South Korea’s Kospi 2.84% lower at 1,863.26 and
Singapore’s Straits Times Index down 0.83% to 2,560.70.
Spot gold jumped US$10.70 to US$1,207.82.