KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian equities bade farewell to the Year of the Dragon on Friday which saw the FBM KLCI scaling fresh record highs to nearly 1,700; but concerns about the general elections and Euro worries weighed on sentiment.
The KLCI had risen to a record high of 1,699.68 on Jan 4 but uncertainties saw the index plunging to below the 1,600 level.
At the close on Friday, the KLCI was up 4.23 points to 1,623.80 despite some profit taking ahead of the long weekend for the Chinese New Year (CNY) break.
Turnover was thin with 666.78 million shares done valued at RM1.30bil. The broader market was firmer, with 376 gainers to 217 losers while 317 counters were unchanged.
Reuters said the euro hovered near a two-week low and European shares rose on Friday after the European Central Bank rekindled expectations that it could again take the knife to interest rates.
Strong Chinese trade data also helped lift optimism about global growth prospects, boosting oil, copper and Asian shares, although investors booking profits before next week's CNY holidays limited gains.
Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.8% to 11,153.16. However, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.16% to 23,215.16; Shanghai's Composite Index added 0.57% to 2,432.40 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.99% to 1,950.90 while Singapore's Straits Times Index edged up 0.26% to 3,270.30.
Crude palm oil for third-month futures fell RM5 to RM2,546. KL Kepong rose 18 sen to RM21.30, IOI Corp six sen to RM4.85 but PPB Group fell 10 sen to RM12 and Sime Darby one sen lower at RM9.26.
Genting Malaysia and Genting Bhd rose eight sen each to RM3.78 and RM9.67 while Tenaga gained four sen to RM6.97.
Among the banks, HLBank rose 10 sen to RM14.44 and Public Bank four sen to RM15.86 while CIMB gained three sen to RM7.18 but HLFG shed eight sen to RM13.48.
The exchange traded bonds and sukuk of DanaInfra closed RM1.31 higher at RM101.31 on the first trading day.
Consumer stocks rose, with Carlsberg, BAT and GAB up 20 sen each to RM12.06, RM58 and RM16.40 respectively while Nestle added 18 sen to RM59.56.
The ringgit weakened to 3.0982 from 3.0918.
US light crude oil rose three cents to US$95.86 and Brent 35 cents to US$117.59. Spot gold fell 72 cents to US$1,670.68.
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