PetChem, HLFG underpin KLCI rebound as ringgit climbs

KUALA LUMPUR: Petronas Chemicals, HLFG and IOI Corp helped underpin the FBM KLCI's firm rebound on Wednesday, but Bursa Malaysia still lagged the key regional markets though the ringgit continued its advance.

At 5pm, the KLCI was up 8.11 points or 0.47% to 1,723.11 and year-to-date, it was up 1.81%. Turnover increased to 1.85 billion shares valued at RM2.06bil. There were 468 gainers, 390 losers and 369 counters unchanged.

The ringgit chalked up strong gains against the US dollar, pound sterling, Singapore dollar and the euro as crude oil prices rose to the highest in 201.

It was at 3.8723 to the greenback from 3.8800 the previous day, it was up at 5.5026 to the pound sterling from 5.5463. It was at 2.8718 to the Singapore dollar from 2.8845 while against the euro, it rose to 4.3902 from 4.4369.

Crude oil prices made a major breakthrough but settled off the highs on profit taking. US light crude oil fell 59 cents to US$41.58 and Brent 46 cents lower at US$44.23.

Reuters reported most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday, led by Singapore which posted its biggest single-day gain in two months, as positive China trade data and firm oil prices helped sentiment. 

At Bursa Malaysia, foreign funds had been consistent net buyers in recent weeks, attracted by the recovery in the ringgit.

Petronas Chemicals rose eight sen to RM6.76 and added 1.09 points to the KLCI. Petronas Gas gained 12 sen to RM21.96, SK Petro added four sen to RM1.87, Petronas Dagangan two sen to RM23.86. 

Bumi Armada recovered from Tuesday's record low to climb 1.5 sen to 73 sen.

Maybulk resumed its recovery path, up 4.5 sen to 97.5 sen on the turnaround in the dry bulk shipment sector. 

AirAsia was up eight sen to RM2.10 as investors pinned their hopes on a strong first quarter financial performance.

Among the banks and financial stocks, HLFG was up 40 sen to RM15.60, adding 0.78 of a point to the KLCI. AmBank continued to recover, up 11 sen to RM4.57, RHB Cap seven sen to RM6.05, CIMB three sen to RM4.89, Public Bank and Hong Leong edged up two sen each to RM13.54 and RM19.16 while Maybank eked out a one sen gain to RM9.15.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM18 to RM2.656 per tonne. As for plantations, IKL Kepong rose 14 sen to RM24, PPB Group 12 sen to RM16.50 and IOI Corp six sen to RM4.53 while Sime was flat at RM7.90.

PIE Industrial surged 46 sen to RM13.60 after its one-into-five share split. GAB added 38 sen to RM14.20 after its strong third quarter earnings.
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