KLCI up 1.96 points at midday as ringgit breaks losing streak

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI rose by 1.96 points to outperform regional markets as the ringgit rebounded following the surge in crude oil prices over the past two days.

At midday, the index closed at 1,628.4 points, having earlier risen to an intraday high of 1,632.23 points.

As at 1230PM, total turnover for the KLCI was at 666.27 million shares valued at RM622.44mil.

The broader market was mixed negative with losers slightly outnumbering gainers. There were 296 losers to 271 gainers and 312 counters unchanged.

Crude oil surrendered some gains on Friday after an increase of more than 10% just after the OPEC announcement on Wednesday. Brent crude fell 61 US cents to USD53.33 while WTI crude fell 38 US cents to USD50.68.

Meanwhile, the ringgit strengthened to RM4.4460 against the greenback compared to RM4.4635 on Thursday.

Energy counters across Asia continued to rally following the agreement by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day.

The move is expected to be supportive of crude oil prices amid the current global supply glut. Major non-OPEC members including Russia have also committed to further production curbs beginning as early as next year.

Bursa Malaysia's oil and gas counters continue to garner trading interest following the deal's announcement. Hibiscus was the top traded counter with 33.2 million shares done. The stock rose by 0.5 sen to 30 sen per share. Other counters such as Bumi Armada and SapuraKencana Petroleum are also among the gainers after a strong rally on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Asian markets were broadly negative as the market turned cautious after a three-week rally following Donald Trump's win in the US presidential elections. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell by 0.78% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell by 1.25%.

The dollar retreated from against major peers ahead of a US nonfarm payrolls report on Friday as well as the upcoming US Federal Reserve meeting later this month which could see an interest rate hike.

At Bursa Malaysia, Sime Darby contributed 0.87 points to the KLCI's rise as the stock increased eight sen to RM8.18. Maybank contributed another 0.67 points to the index after rising four sen to RM7.83.

Among the banks, Public Bank fell two sen to RM19.62 while CIMB fell one sen to RM4.66.

As for the telcos, DiGi.Com rose one sen to RM4.96 sen. Maxis fell two sen to RM5.88 while Axiata was unchanged at RM4.24.

Crude palm oil’s benchmark third-month contract for March was unchanged at RM3,065 per tonne.

Among the plantation counters that make up the KLCI, KLK was unchanged at RM23.88 while PPB Group was also unchanged at RM16.

Among the key regional markets:

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.78% to 18,368.80:

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.25% to 22,593.01 points;

Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.92% to 3,243.18;

Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.81% to 9,188.44 ;

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.72% to 1,969.55 ;

Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.25% to 2,921.27 points.

Spot gold rose by USD2.75 to US$1,174.44 per troy ounce.

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