KLCI ekes out slim gains in volatile trade

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI eked out slim gains at the midday break on Monday in volatile trade, which saw the 30-stock coming under pressure in late morning as plantation stocks fell.

At 12.30pm, the KLCI was up 0.29 of a point or 0.02% to 1,862.87. It hit an intra morning high of 1,867 and low of 1,860. 

Turnover was 976.64 million shares valued at RM775.17mil. Declining stocks beat advancers 420 to 270 while 324 counters were unchanged.

The ringgit firmed up against the US dollar to 3.5625 at midday – the strongest since Feb 9 – from the previous close of 3.5800.

Brent crude prices held near a 4-1/2 month high above US$65 a barrel on Monday, supported by concerns about fighting in Yemen disrupting Middle East supplies and signs that US shale output may have started to decline, Reuters reported. US light crude oil shed 26 cents to US$56.89 and Brent was down 20 cents to US$65.08.

Petronas Daganagan was the biggest gainer among oil and gas related stocks, adding 30 sen to RM22.30, Petronas Chemicals added four sen to RM6.25 and Petronas Gas two sen to RM22.98. SK Petro lost five sen to RM2.80.

KNM warrants jumped 21.5 sen to 22 sen on the first trading but the shares fell 3.5 sen to 65.5 sen in active trade.

Muhibbah, which is involved oil and gas and also port infrastructure, added 19 sen to RM2.70 as investors were upbeat on its fresh contracts.

Crude palm oil for third-month delivery fell RM27 to RM2,127 per tonne. United Plantations lost 24 sen to RM26.26, KL Kepong shed six sen to RM23.36, FGV and IOI Corp were flat at RM2.10 and RM4.40 but PPB Group added four sen to RM15.84.

Among the telcos, TM rose eight sen to RM7.54, Maxis was flat at RM7.15, DiGi lost one sen to RM6.24 but  Axiata lost eight sen to RM6.91.

As for banks, CIMB added five sen to RM6.14, Public Bank and Hong Leong Bank added four sen each to RM19.74 and RM14.24, RHB Cap gained one sen to RM8.01  while Maybank was flat at RM9.42. AmBank shed three sen to RM6.44 

Among the key regional markets,

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.12% to 19,995.58;

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.3% to 28,426.72;

Shanghai’s Composite Index jumped 1.87% to 4,475.69;

Taiwan’s Taiex rose 0.58% to 9,970.35;

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.07% to 2,158.26;

Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.13% to 3,517.69.
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