KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips edged higher at midday on Friday, thanks to Malayan Banking (Maybank) and Petronas Chemicals but crude palm oil (CPO) for third month fell after the government raised the export tax from March.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI was up 1.86 points or 0.11% to 1,709.45. Turnover slowed down to 985.37 million shares valued at RM826.34mil. There were 343 gainers, 372 losers and 383 counters unchanged.
Asian stock markets took a breather on Friday from their recent surge as investors booked profits, while the dollar inched up after Thursday's slide and optimism over possible renewed supply cuts by OPEC lifted oil prices, Reuters reported.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pulled back 0.1%, on track to end the week up 1.3%, its fourth straight weekly gain.
The ringgit fell to 4.4583 against the US dollar from 4.4540 the previous day, declined against the pound sterling to 5.5754 from 5.5690. It also slipped against the Singapore dollar to 3.1457 from 3.141 and weakened against the Euro to 4.7591 from 4.7392.
US light crude oil edged up seven cents to US$53.43 and Brent added 10 cents to US$55.74. Petronas Chemicals added 19 sen to RM7.49 and pushed the KLCI up 2.49 points, Petronas Gas six sen higher at RM20.70 and Petronas Dagangan four sen to RM23.98.
CPO for third-month delivery fell RM37 to RM2,892 – the lowest since Nov 18 last year – after the government raised the export tax from 7.5% per tonne to 8% effective March.
KL Kepong fell four sen to RM24.88, PPB Group two sen lower at RM16.34 and IOI Corp was flat at RM. Sime Darby rose two sen to RM9.16.
Consumer stocks were among the top gainers, BAT rose 88 sen to RM49.66, Carlsberg added 26 sen to RM14.38, Heineken was up 16 sen to RM16.74 but Nestle fell 34 sen to RM76.06.
Maybank rose seven sen to RM8.47 and added 1.17 points to the KLCI, RHB Bank one sen higher at RM5.11, CIMB was flat at RM5.09, Heong Leong Bank shed two sen to RM13.40, Public Bank lost six sen to RM20.02.
Genting Malaysia rose five sen to RM5.14 but Geting Bhd lost five sen to RM8.75 and Tenaga was flat at RM13.50.
DneX was the most active with 61.2 million shares done, up 2.5 sen to 33 sen. DneX is building a new back-end system for Bukit Megah Sdn Bhd for the latter's rehiring programme of illegal foreign workers.
DneX would be paid RM30 per transaction of “eWork Permit”, which is the name of the new back-end system to be set up for Bukit Megah’s rehiring operations, according to CIMB Equities Research.
Complete Logistics jumped 16.5 sen to RM1.16, DKSH added 13 sen to RM5.26.
Pos Malaysia added 12 sen to RM4.25 sen and E&O added nine sen to RM1.81.
Axiata fell the most among the telcos, down 13 sen to RM4.85 and erasing 1.91 points from the KLCI, Digi fell one sen to RM5.06, Maxis rose two sen to RM6.43 and Telekom three sen higher at RM6.19.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.63% to 19,225.45;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.4% to 24,011.92;
CSI 300 fell 0.22% to 3,433.19;
Shanghai’s Composite Index lost 0.46% to 3,214.62;
Hang Seng China Enterprise was down 0.85% to 10,366.02;
Taiwan’s Taiex shed 0.05% to 9,766.20;
South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.17% to 2,078.34; and
Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.48% to 3,111.46.
Spot gold fell 43 cents to US$1,238.61.