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Published: Monday December 31, 2012 MYT 1:20:00 PM

Axiata, banks drag KLCI into the red midday

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips, which hit an all-time closing high of 1,681 last Friday, took a breather on Monday as local funds and retail investors were quick to lock in gains on the last trading day.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 4.87 points or 0.29% to 1,676.46. Turnover was 349.88 million shares valued at RM259.72mil. There were 192 gainers, 343 losers and 298 stocks unchanged.

Some Asian markets, which were opened, were mixed ahead of the deadline for the US Congress to agree on the budget before the "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts takes effect, wire reports said.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.04% to 22,656.92 and Singapore's Straits Times Index shed 0.77% to 3,167.28. However, Shanghai's Composite Index rose 1.12% to 2,258.33. Japan, Taiwan and South Korea were closed.

At Bursa Malaysia, Axiata fell 10 sen to RM6.64 and dragged the KLCI down 1.95 points while DiGi shed two sen to RM5.27.

Banks fell, with Maybank and AMMB down five sen each to RM9.03 and RM6.64 while CIMB lost three sen to RM7.64. Petronas Dagangan dropped 10 sen to RM23.50 and Petronas Gas eight sen to RM19.48.

Tenaga lost four sen to RM6.90 and Genting Malaysia three sen to RM3.56.

Consumer stocks fell with GAB and Nestle down eight sen each to RM16.40 and RM62.02.

Malaysian palm oil product exports during December fell 5.7% to 1,568,510 tonnes from 1,663,092 tonnes in November, Reuters quoted a report by cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services.

Crude palm oil for third-month futures fell RM26 to RM2,471. Batu Kawan fell the most, down 14 sen to RM18.16. However, PPB rose 26 sen to RM11.62 and KLK six sen to RM22.

The ringgit was stronger against the US dollar at 3.0587 from 3.0613.

US light crude oil and Brent rose three cents each to US$90.83 and US$110.65 and spot gold climbed US$5.05 to US$1,660.76.

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