KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips closed sharply lower on Tuesday on profit taking of key stocks including Maxis, Axiata and Tenaga Nasional as the last-minute surge the previous day proved to be unsustainable.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 20.46 points or 1.17% to 1,723.73. Turnover was 1.33 billion shares valued at RM1.52bil. Decliners beat advancers 549 to 261 while 300 counters were unchanged.
The losses by Maxis, Axiata and Tenaga erased a combined 17 points from the KLCI.
The ringgit weakened to 3.8523, but off the intra-day low of 3.8695, against the US dollar.
However, RAM Rating Services said the ringgit was not expected to breach 4.00 level this year and next.
Economist and head of research Kristina Fong said there was a lot of external uncertainties which were fuelling the volatility in the ringgit.
"The majority of the movement in the ringgit in the past year has been non-fundamental and very sentiment-based,” she added.
On the external front, Hong Kong stocks were steady as anxiety ahead of earning reports tempered by a rally in China's main indexes as Beijing ramped up its efforts to stabilise mainland markets, according to Reuters.
Oil prices steadied at US$50 a barrel after a 5% drop and badly bruised commodity and Chinese markets were calmer generally on Tuesday, as investors attempted to shake off the recent turbulence.
US light crude oil rose 61 cents to US$45.78 and Brent 61 cents higher at US$50.13.
Crude palm oil for third-month delivery rose 12 sen to RM2,066, erasing the earlier losses.
At Bursa Malaysia, Maxis fell 61 sen to RM6.59 and erased 7.92 points from the KLCI while Axiata lost 41 sen to RM6.44 and wiped out 6.17 points. DiGi fell nine sen to RM5.41 while TM shed one sen to RM6.59.
Tenaga lost 30 sen to RM11.94 and wiped out 2.93 points from the KLCI. UMW was the top loser for the day, skidding 64 sen to RM10.08.
Among the plantations, PPB Group lost 52 sen to RM15.10, KL Kepong 38 sen to RM21.74 while IOI Corp was down three sen to RM4.24 but Sime gained one sen to RM8.79.
As for banks and finance stocks, HLFG fell 34 sen to RM15.66, CIMB was down nine sen to RM5.23, Hong Leong Bank shed two sen to RM13.56, Maybank one sen lower at RM9.17 but Public Bank added 10 sen to RM19.16.
Petronas Chemicals fell six sen to RM6.43, Petronas Dagangan added four sen to RM21.24 and Petronas Gas six sen higher to RM22.46, SK Petro lost four sen to RM2.40.
MISC was the top gainer, up 42 sen to RM8.20 after it posted a strong set of earnings in the second quarter ended June 30, 2015. Its earnings surged 158% to RM745.18mil from RM288.08mil a year ago, boosted by higher revenue, mainly in the petroleum and offshore businesses.
Property stocks were among the gainers, with SP Setia and Hunza Property up 11 sen sen each to RM3.13 and RM2.63.
Top Glove climbed 20 sen to RM7.90 as it would benefit from the stronger dollar for its exports.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.14% to 20,520.36;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.02% to 24,406.12;
Shanghai’s Composite Index jumped 3.69% to 3,756.54.
Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.16% to 8,510.86;
South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.97% to 2,027.99 and
Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.22% to 3,185.86.
Spot gold rose US$3.57 to US$1,090.35.