KUALA LUMPUR: Telekom Malaysia, Maybank and Public Bank helped power the FBM KLCI higher on Friday amid a relatively quiet market following downbeat data from its February exports.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 2.55 points or 0.14% to 1,834.52. Turnover was 1.79 billion shares valued at RM1.28bil. There were 383 gainers, 360 losers and 345 counters unchanged.
The ringgit weakened to 3.6693 against the US dollar from 3.6690 the previous day.
Malaysia’s exports fell for the second month in February by 9.7% on-year, down from January’s contraction of 0.6%.
“February coincided with the Chinese New Year festive holiday and thereby a shorter working month. The seasonally adjusted month-on-month growth for exports was a contraction of 9.6% while import expanded 3.8%,” said Alliance DBS Economics Research.
Also restraining the market’s advance was the tumble in Brent crude oil also weighed on investor appetite for oil and gas stocks.
Reuters reported Asian shares gained while the dollar moved in familiar ranges in thin trading ahead of the Easter weekend, as investors awaited the release of key US employment figures later on Friday for clues on when the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates.
Chinese stocks rose to fresh seven-year highs, shrugging off concerns that a wave of new share offerings would reduce liquidity.
At Bursa Malaysia, TM rose 16 sen to RM7.51 and pushed the KLCI up 1.03 points,
Among the banks,, Maybanks’s five sen gain to RM9.45 pushed the KLCI up 0.81 point while Public Bank added 10 sen to RM19.02 and nudged the index up 0.67 of a point. HLFG added 16 sen to RM17 while HLBank and AmBank edged two sen to RM6.41.
CMSB was among the gainers, adding 20 sen to RM4.70 after it was upgraded following its move to venture into the telecommunications sector via a 50% stake in Sacofa Sdn Bhd for RM186.79mil cash, valuing the latter at RM373.6mil.
Biotech resumed its upward trend to add 13 sen to RM3.84.
Among the consumer stocks, Nestle added 60 sen to RM74.30 but BAT fell 44 sen to RM68.22.
Crude palm oil for third-month delivery rose RM17 to RM2,183 per tonne. IOI Corp added two sen to RM4.61 but PPB was flat at RM15.56 while KL Kepong ,lost six sen to RM22.80 and FGV two sen to RM2.11.
Westports shed seven sen to RM3.98 after climbing to an all-time high as investors decided to take profit.
Only World Group, which had a strong run-up recently, fell eight sen to RM1.81.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.63% to 19,435.08;
Shanghai’s Composite Index added 1% to 3,863.93;
South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.81% to 2,045.42;
Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore were closed.
Spot gold fell US$2.11 to US$1,200.50.