KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional powered the FBM KLCI higher towards the key 1,800 level at midday on Tuesday but the broader market displayed investors' caution. FGV was in focus following the suspension of its group president/CEO and CFO with immediate effect.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI was up 1.87 points or 0.1% to 1,789.82. Turnover was thin with 1.21 billion shares done valued at RM1.02bil. The broader market was cautious with decliners beating advancers nearly two to one or 476 losers to 272 gainers and 345 counters unchanged.
Escalating tensions in the Middle East, the impending testimony of the former FBI director, British elections and a European Central Bank meeting this week, all took their toll on Asian stocks, oil and the dollar on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Oil fell back following a brief recovery after Saudi Arabia and several other Arab states severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism and undermining regional stability. US light crude fell 19 cents to US$47.21 and Brent was down 18 cents to US$49.29.
The ringgit rose against the US dollar by 0.11% to 4.2585 and edged up 0.15% to the Singapore dollar at 3.0856 and was up 0.13% to the euro at 4.7987. However, it slipped 0.19% against the pound sterling to 5.5054.
FGV fell seven sen to RM1.66 with over 27 million shares done, the lowest since January. The board announced the suspension of Datuk Zakaria Arshad as group president and CEO, and Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha as the group chief financial officer.
FGV said both were given given leave of absence from Tuesday pending a probe of certain deals under Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd, which is a subsidiary of FGV.
Among the heavyweights,Tenaga rose 14 sen to RM13.96, Genting Bhd was flat at RM9.96 while Genting Malaysuia fell four sen to RMRM5.78 and MISC lost five sen to RM7.45.
As for the oil and gas-related stocks, Serba Dinamik lost 20 sen to RM2.05 with 13.9 million shares done. Petronas Chemicals lost three sen to RM7.19, Petronas Gas two sen lower at RM19.42 and Petronas Dagangan was flat at RM24.22.
Semiconductor and technology-related stocks fared well, with burn-in tester KESM up 20 sen to RM15.06, Globetronics and MPI added 18 sen each to RM5.98 and RM12.88 while JHM rose 15 sen to RM5.50. However, Vitrox came under some profit taking after the recent surge in its share price, down 20 sen to RM6.90.
Insurer LPI rose 34 sen to RM19.28 and Manulife 19 sen higher at RM3.25 but Allianz fell 10 sen to RM12.70.
Among the banks, AmBank lost five sen to RM4.99 and RHGB Bank shed one sen to RM5.18 after the recent merger proposal.
However, CIMB rose three sen to RM6.78, Maybank and Public Bank were flat at RM9.59 and RM20.30 and Hong Leong Bank shed two sen to RM15.18.
Glove makers traded lower with Kossan down 10 sen to RM6.26 and Hartalega nine sen down at RM6.36.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM23 to RM2,476 per tonne. IOI Corp rose three sen to RM4.55 and KL Kepong six sen higher at RM24.86 while PPB Group shed two sen to RM16.98 and Sine Darby eased one sen to RM9.57.