KUALA LUMPUR: Profit taking of Public Bank and Hong Leong Bank dragged the FBM KLCI into the red at midday on Wednesday while MISC continued to lose ground amid the weaker broader market as the ringgit weakened.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 0.72 of a point or 0.04% to 1,625.28. Turnover was 661.52 million shares valued at RM742.93mil. The broader market weakened with decliners beating advancers two to one or 438 losers to 207 gainers and 331 counters unchanged.
On the external front, China stocks were flat on Wednesday morning following the previous day's sharp rally, as growing optimism about MSCI adding mainland stocks to its emerging markets index was offset by worries over China's economy and a looming US rate hike, Reuters reported.
The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,169.00 by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1%, to 2,918.78. Hong Kong shares were also subdued, with the Hang Seng index unchanged and the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index up just 0.4%.
The ringgit weakened against the US dollar to 4.1337 from 4.1287 and eased against the Singapore dollar to 2.9978 from 2.9919 and slipped against the euro to 4.5981 from 4.5974. It edged up against the pound sterling to 5.9873 from 6.0299.
Public Bank fell 16 sen to RM18.96 on profit taing and erased 1.04 points from the KLCI. Hong Leong Bank lost 14 sen to RM13.22 but CIMB added one sen to RM4.40 and Maybank advanced two sen to RM8.18.
Power giant Tenaga was flat at RM13.98, IHH Healthcare lost six sen to RM6.40 and MISC skidded 11 sen to RM7.61.
Reinsurer MNRB fell 22 sen to RM2.81 after it reported losses. Poultry company Lay Hong fell 21 sen to RM8.95 and Tomypak 15 sen lower at at RM1.84.
As for consumer stocks, Dutch Lady fell 18 sen to RM54.82 but with just 2,800 shares done. BAT was the top gainer, up 70 sen to RM50.76, Ajinomoto 20 sen to RM12.40 and also 20 sen higher was F&N to RM23.90.
US light crude oil fell 36 sen to US$48.74 and Brent was down 39 cents to US$49.50.
Armada rose 2.5 sen to 67.5 sen in very active trade with 53.31 million shares done while SapuraKencana gained two sen to RM1.62.
Petronas Gas rose six sen to RM21.70, Petronas Dagangan four sen to RM23.48 and Petronas Chemicals gained three sen to RM6.61.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM10 to RM2,630 per tonne. Kluang fell 20 sen to RM3.06, BLD Plantations fell 15 sen to RM8.55, PPB Group shed eight sen to RM16.24, KL Kepong lost two sen to RM23.02, IOI Corp rose one sen to RM4.15 and Sime Darby tose four sen to RM7.45.