KUALA LUMPUR: Lower liners saw heavy trading activity on Thursday as trading volume surged past four billion shares, the highest since April 6, but blue chips slumped on losses by IHH Healthcare and Tenaga Nasional.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 3.21 points or 0.18% lower at 1,754. Turnover jumped to 4.33 billion shares valued at RM2.39bil. There were 446 gainers, 396 losers and 433 counters unchanged.
The ringgit weakened against key currencies despite the stronger-than-expected industrial production index and optimism that it has been a brilliant under-the-radar story of 2017 with more room to climb.
The ringgit was flat against the US dollar at 4.2225 but it slipped 0.31% to the pound sterling at 5.5828 and fell 0.28% to the Singapore unit at 3.1162 and was down 0.35% to the euro at 5.0042.
On the external front, Hong Kong stocks ended higher on Thursday, tracking the global rally in equities and led higher by financial firms, which tracked gains in mainland peers and helped mitigate losses in energy shares, Reuters reported.
China's major indexes were mixed on Thursday, as gains in financial stocks offset losses in resources firms after Beijing vowed to curb pollution throughout winter.
At Bursa, stock market data showed that 35 million shares of Tenaga were traded off-market at RM13.98 each, which was 22 sen below Wednesday's close.
The off-market trade had an impact on the power giant and it fell eight sen to RM14.12 and erased 0.74 of a point from the KLCI.
IHH Healthcare fell 14 sen to RM5.77 and erased 1.89 points from the KLCI, Genting Bhd
and Genting Malaysia were flat at RM9.50 and RM5.27 while MISC fell fove sen to RM7.16.
Hong Leong Bank fell four sen to RM15.88, AmBank three sen to RM4.42, Maybank two sen to RM9.53 while CIMB and Public Bank were flat at RM6.29 and RM20.56. However, RHB Bank added four sen to RM5.15.
Global supply and demand for crude oil will be largely balanced next year, as growth in consumption helps erode a three-year-old overhang of unused fuel and should mostly offset a steep rise in output, Reuters quoted the International Energy Agency as saying.
US WTI fell 43 cents to US$50.87 and Brent lost 24 cents to US$56.70. Petronas Dagangan and Petronas Gas fell two sen each to RM24.28 and RM18.48 but Petronas Chemicals gained one sen to RM7.33.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose US$27 to US$2,7213 per tonne. KL Kepong added six sen to RM24.76, IOI Corp and PPB Group were flat at RM4.51 and RM16.78 and Sime Darby shed five sen to RM9.04.
As for telcos, Telekom rose five sen to RM6.20, Axiata added four sen to RM5.33, Maxis gained three sen to RM5.88 but Digi fell four sen to RM4.84.
Among the consumer stocks, Dutch Lady rose 72 sen to RM59.96, Nestle added 24 sen to RM85.50 while BAT fell 22 sen to RM42.88 and Ajinomoto 18 sen lower at RM20.20.
Driving the trading volume were Asiamet Education Group (formerly Masterskill) which jumped 8.5 sen to 25 sen with 183 million shares done.
Hubline added 0.5 sen to 15.5 sen and MNC 1.5 sen higher at 10.5 sen while Key Asic was flat at 27 after the previous day's surge.
Glove makers fared well with Hartalega gaining 54 sen to RM7.48, Top Glove 28 sen higher at RM5.93 and Kossan
15 sen to RM7.05.